Harmony Humbolt: The Perfect Pets Queen, written by Jenna Grodzicki and illustrated by Mirka Hokkanen
The cover of this picture book instantly screams fun! Harmony looks like a strong independent and decisive young girl and her stuffed toys are full of character, cuteness and a little bit of mischief too. It is easy to see why she loves her toys and how dedicated she is to them all from the outset. The first image instantly brought back a flood of memories for me from my childhood. Just like Harmony, I remember having a wild collection of stuffed toys on my bed every night and my kids are exactly the same today. They are devoted to their stuffed toys just like Harmony, and like most children, these toys play an important role in developing their creative thinking, empathy and sharing. The topic of Grodzicki’s book is spot on. Everything about this book is child centered and perfectly pitched to a picture book audience.
When Harmony is finally able to take her precious toys into school with her, I felt the pang of concern she felt over their wellbeing too, which testament to how well their characters relationship with her toys was expressed within the story. Grodzicki certainly has a way of tapping into our childhood psyches and definitely takes the reader on a journey right alongside her main character. When Harmony’s friends ‘play’ with her toys, squeezing them and swinging them, Harmony’s stomach flutters and she begins to lay down more and more rules much to the annoyance of her friends.
Humor runs beautifully throughout this book. As Harmony’s list builds, so does the tension, the character’s reactions and the humor too. I couldn’t help but chuckle as I read on and fear the outcome. Grodzicki brings us to the low point with Harmony at the perfect moment and there is a wonderful page turn point when children are given a moment to reflect and think about what Harmony should do next. It’s a great teaching moment without any actual teaching – the very best kind!
The illustrations complement the text well, they are lively, cheerful, playful and equally child-centered, making this book totally relatable to its young readers. They had a slight resemblance to Richard Scarry who my kids and I adore.
I have yet to read this to my children as I was lucky enough to be given an advanced electronic copy in exchange for an honest review. Such a treat! But I cannot wait to share it with them as soon as it’s in print. Especially my daughter as she is going to love it!
A truly delightful book, perfect for little readers who love their toys as much as Harmony loves hers.