Disclosure: I did not receive any compensation for this review. I purchased this book after it was released by a library. I did not steal it. Cover art is copyright of Chicken House.*
Harriet is on her way to visit her best friend, Ivor, when she happens upon dancing butterflies. She is inspired to dance, only to have her dreams shot down. Will Harriet dance again?
Harriet is one of the best hedgehog protagonists I have come across. She is lovely and full of life. She is also incredibly sociable for a hedgehog. Not only is her best friend another hedgehog, but she greets all of the animals she meets. Harriet is obviously well-liked, as each animal happily greets her in turn.
Then she comes across the bigoted butterflies. When Harriet is moved to dance while watching them, the butterflies tell her “the butterfly dance is only for butterflies…not hedgehogs” and “butterflies only dance with butterflies.” Dejected, Harriet runs off, only to find solace in her friends, who encourage her to dance again.
One thing I really like about this book is that Harriet is given a name. It may seem like a small thing, but a lot of books about hedgehogs just give their protagonist the name “Hedgehog” or “Hedgie.” My prickly point is that I wish the other animals in the books were extended the same courtesy. Instead they are referred to as Frog, Mole, etc.
This story has multiple themes. One is about following your dreams in the face of rejection and adversity. Another is about being inclusive and kind to those who are different from yourself. These are shown in the contrast of the snooty and elitist butterflies to the diverse array of animals that encourage and support Harriet.
This is an uplifting story that I recommend to readers of all ages. I do not know why a library released my copy for sale. No child should miss out on ‘Harriet Dancing.’