Hattie the Bad by Jane Devlin is a breezy bit of picture book magic that I’ve read many times over with my son. Grinning Hattie with short pigtails and dancing eyes starts off very bad, committing naughty acts depicted by Joe Berger in a simple, bright palette. She puts frogs in the fridge that startle her mom, and tries to sell her baby brother for 20 cents in a curb sale. Other kids love Hattie and her hijinks, but other parents don’t want their children anywhere close to her.
Hattie reforms so completely that she is invited to The Best-Behaved Child Ever pageant. From a whole auditorium of well-scrubbed, impeccably-behaved children she is selected. And as she climbs the long stairs to the stage she gets a funny feeling inside. She is asked, “Is there anything you’d like to say?”
I can’t tell you what she says, but every child in the country watching the TV is overjoyed and every adult is horrified. Hattie the Bad is terrific fun. Don’t miss this recent gem! It would be hard to find a better way to spend four minutes.