Hannah Harrison is such a delightful person and a familiar face on this blog. She gave an interview a few years ago, right before EXTRAORDINARY JANE was published. (My son still carries his now very battered copy of JANE around with him everywhere he goes. My copy is on the very top of my office bookshelf – please don’t tell my son.)
I also reviewed her second book about a crabby cat having a very bad day at a birthday party called BERNIE GETS CARRIED AWAY, which you can read about here.
(Have I mentioned how much I love being a part of SCBWI Oklahoma? So many generous and talented people in this group!)
I received an advanced copy of Hannah’s newest book, MY FRIEND MAGGIE from her when I saw her this past spring at our SCBWI OK conference in April. There may have been some actual jumping up and down when she gave it to me. I get excited when I receive free books from people, especially when they’re as talented as Hannah.
I’m so honored to be able to review this book before it releases in August. Be sure to pre-order your copy today!
MY FRIEND MAGGIE by Hannah E. Harrison
Published by: Dial Books
Release Date: August 9, 2016
Genres: Children’s, Picture Books
Paula and Maggie have been friends forever. Paula thinks Maggie is the best—until mean girl Veronica says otherwise. Suddenly, Paula starts to notice that Maggie is big and clumsy, and her clothes are sort of snuggish. Rather than sticking up for Maggie, Paula ignores her old friend and plays with Veronica instead. Luckily, when Veronica turns on Paula, Maggie’s true colors shine through.
This moving friendship story has all the heart and emotion of The Giving Tree and Kevin Henkes’s Chrysanthemum. The gorgeous artwork and important message make this a book to treasure. It’s truly a classic in the making. (Plot summary from Goodreads.)
This book has already received some high praise:
Publisher’s Weekly STAR Review
“Harrison tells her story with touching and expert restraint, and her acrylic illustrations have a lovely old-fashioned feel that readers of her previous books will recognize…Harrison shows a deeply sympathetic understanding of the simultaneously fragile and powerful emotions of children.”
“Harrison’s brightly colored acrylic paintings amplify the emotions…(her) straightforward, first-person text, while understated, also conveys a wealth of emotion.”
This is such a fantastic story about friendship, and what happens when that friendship gets put to the test.
Before I even get into the fantastic artwork, can I talk about the inner nerd girl/weird girl/picked-on-by-the-mean-girl little part of each of us hidden way deep down inside that can’t help but tear up at the lunch room scene?
I’ve lived that scene. It felt just that awful.
Talk about nailing the emotions. Pow!
As always, Hannah is a master at using vibrant color, white space, and perspective in her artwork to enhance the emotional impact of the story.
She ties it all together to bring this thoughtful tale to a very satisfying conclusion.
I fell in love with this book. And with Maggie. Everyone could use a friend like her.
Learn more about Hannah E. Harrison here.
Follow Hannah on Facebook here.
As a special treat, you can view this clever video Hannah made for her Artist’s Studio Tour.