Step through the fridge into a peculiar new world!
A wonderfully whimsical adventure crafted from an equally whimsical imagination. Claire Harcup has dreamed up a fantastical new world full of tiny dragons, talking elephants, and an army of kidnapped children ruled by a wicked lord.
With subtle yet approachable nods surrounding mental health and depression, Harcup largely keeps Hattie Brown versus the Cloud Snatchers light and lively. Heroine Hattie is an amiable and admirable character, experiencing growth and challenges compared to her bland supporting cast. The colourful commentary and short chapters will keep readers engaged, and the hint of more adventures with Hattie Brown in the land of Somewhere-Nowhere will hopefully make this a fun and exciting trilogy.
When compared to the triumphant likes of Alice in Wonderland or The Land of Roar, which both effectively deploy another magical world within their stories, Hattie Brown feels relatively safe and simple. The classical tropes are there - good conquers bad, charming animal sidekicks, an overarching message of courage and kindness - however that essential special spark, that magical oomph, fell flat and unsatisfying for me. Perhaps it was the slightly underdeveloped plot, its repetitive nature, or the lack of show stopping substance, but, this does leave potential for Harcup's future stories, which I'll definitely be reading.
A confidently, quirky debut that will delight newly confident and curious readers.