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8 Reviews
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars too wonderful for words
I am a huge fan of Barbara Cooney, whose illustrations and words have made me want to travel like Miss Rumphius, live by the sea like Hattie, and read more biographies because of Eleanor(a role model of mine). Hattie and the Wild Waves tells of a little girlk whose wealthy family moves from seaside house to seaside house, each time with more passion from Hattie on her...
Published on March 15, 2000

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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Lovely pictures
This story is laden with very human responses from the parents to the children but I found it a bit critical of the main little girl. She loved art and the solitude of the water. Ultimately she takes herself back to it when a late teen (I presume) and also onto art school. Loved the child's spunk but had a hard time getting past the parents critical ways. Lovely art...
Published on November 30, 2012 by brianmdv


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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars too wonderful for words, March 15, 2000
By A Customer
I am a huge fan of Barbara Cooney, whose illustrations and words have made me want to travel like Miss Rumphius, live by the sea like Hattie, and read more biographies because of Eleanor(a role model of mine). Hattie and the Wild Waves tells of a little girlk whose wealthy family moves from seaside house to seaside house, each time with more passion from Hattie on her love for the sea. From her big sister's wedding to the pink card that tells her fortune, Hattie and her ambitious spirit will capture your heart, and the beautiful illustrations will capture your admiration. Read it. You will love it.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Must Read for Every Young Girl!, September 18, 2001
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This review is from: Hattie and the Wild Waves: A Story From Brooklyn (Picture Puffins) (Paperback)
We had to finally buy this book, because I had simply borrowed it from the library too many times! Hattie who is from a well to do German immigrant family has a mind of her own. While her sister excels at all the correct things such as needlepoint and piano, Hattie has no interest and is off drawing pictures. She looks to the ocean, her lifelong friend, for reassurance that she is choosing the correct path. From the wonderful German traditions and occasional word to the detailed pictures of life at the turn of the century, Barbara Cooney has written a true joy to read.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sweet story with a good conclusion, June 22, 2002
This review is from: Hattie and the Wild Waves: A Story From Brooklyn (Picture Puffins) (Paperback)
Hattie grows up in growing New York City, creating, participating with her wealthy family and occasionally talking about what she will do with her life. She accepts the changes her father goes through that affects her and she does her best with them.
Finally, one day she makes her big announcement that she will become a painter. Thankfully, her family is happy with her choice and compares her to her famous painting grandfather, but Hattie is able to tell that she will be, "a painter like Me." My daughter appreciates the message that this creative, painting girl grows up to do what her heart tells her to do, in the way she plans.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Don't miss this lovely book by the author of Miss Rumphius!, November 17, 2013
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This review is from: Hattie and the Wild Waves: A Story From Brooklyn (Picture Puffins) (Paperback)
Barbara Cooney's ever distinctive voice in this beautiful and haunting tale. Evocative of a distant past, written, it seems, from the vivid point of view of an eyewitness.
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5.0 out of 5 stars I really like to know what people use to make their illustrations, August 2, 2014
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Rebecca Greeley (Acton,Mass. United States) - See all my reviews
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Bought it for the illustrations. I have bought and read other books of hers that give a little detail what medium she used. It was not in this . I wish it was. I really like to know what people use to make their illustrations. I just wish I had grandchildren to share this book with!
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Lovely pictures, November 30, 2012
This story is laden with very human responses from the parents to the children but I found it a bit critical of the main little girl. She loved art and the solitude of the water. Ultimately she takes herself back to it when a late teen (I presume) and also onto art school. Loved the child's spunk but had a hard time getting past the parents critical ways. Lovely art by Barbara Cooney, as always.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Lovely Illustrations, but may not hold the attention of young readers, July 18, 2010
This review is from: Hattie and the Wild Waves: A Story From Brooklyn (Picture Puffins) (Paperback)
This story provides an interesting glimmer of life in a by-gone era with servants and chauffers, wealth and affluence. A young girl, Hattie, wishes to be an artist while her siblings have other aspirations. While I found this story interesting, it did seem to be more autobiographical in nature. Some parts of the story seemed to be a bit fragmented, hopping around from one topic to another without much preamble. The illustrations were quite lovely, but I don't know that this book would hold the attention of young readers due to its literary content.

DeeDee Fox, author and illustrator, The Ruby Red Slippers
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3 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars When the waves turn the minutes to hours, August 5, 2004
This review is from: Hattie and the Wild Waves: A Story From Brooklyn (Picture Puffins) (Paperback)
It's quite common for picture book artists to tell the stories of their families for readers everywhere to enjoy. Sometimes the richest material a person can plumb comes from their own past. Barbara Cooney is widely regarded (which is to say, regarded by myself) to rival only the picture book artist Marcia Brown in terms of awards and talent. Having created fabulous books (if you haven't seen "Ox-Cart Man" then you haven't seen nuthin') it was only with "Hattie and the Wild Waves" that Cooney focused her attention onto a story that was a little closer to home. In this book, the author/illustrator tells the story of her mother growing up in New York in the late 19th/early 20th century. It is the story of a girl coming to terms with herself.

Hattie is a small girl living her Mama and Papa in New York. She is one of three children and the family is very well to do. They have servants and grand huge houses and extravagant dinners where they treat all the relatives in the family to a meal each and every Sunday. Hattie's sister's only goal is to someday be a beautiful bride. Her brother wishes to work with his father in the business. But Hattie has different dreams. She wishes to someday paint, an idea that her family misinterprets (thinking she wants to paint houses) and laughs off the idea. As we go through the book we get glimpses of how the rich of New York once lived. Hattie's family is made up entirely of Germans, each businessman having made his fortune in everything from the lumber business to breweries. The book shows us that Hattie is not keen on such accepted (at the time) female pursuits like piano playing or needlework. Instead, she loves to paint the things she sees. Best of all is the summer, when Hattie listens to the waves at the family's summer home and tries to figure out what they're saying. Years later, Hattie must make an important decision about her own life, and it is only through revisiting the ocean that she can determine what the waves are really trying to tell her.

It's a bit confusing that in this biographical book the main character has a name different from that of Barbara Cooney's actual mother. I can only assume that Cooney did this to allow herself a little artistic license, possibly with chronology or maybe with the facts of the tale. The book is an excellent way of showing kids elements of the past (as well as the expectations of women during time period) while immersing them in beautiful houses, gardens, oceans, and life in general. I suspect there'll be many youngsters flipping through this book sighing that they wish THEIR dad would buy them a tennis ball retrieving macaw. The paintings are lovely as usual and Cooney infuses them with a real pastoral feel.

Unfortunately, the story is a bit vague. Hattie's predicament (what to do with her life) is never really spelled out. In the last picture we see her climbing the front steps of an art institute, but the text doesn't really make it clear that she either applied to one or got in. The family is fairly supportive, which is to say they never say that Hattie CAN'T be an artist. More than anything, this book just reads like a lovely history of a single family. There isn't any real dramatic tension or conflict. And as long as I'm complaining, I might as well mention that on one page Hattie is dressed in an evening gown and appears to be in her late teens while on the next page she's dressed in winter clothes and looks roughly nine years of age. Much of this book will mostly appeal to kids living in New York who are familiar with such sights as Coney Island, Long Island, and the East River.

Though a beautiful product, Cooney's, "Hattie and the Wild Waves", isn't really much more than a pretty package. You can give or take the story. It's the descriptions and the illustrations that are the stars of this particular show. If you'd like to read a relatively wordy picture book to your kids about a girl growing up in the New York area long ago, this book fulfills such a need admirably. Otherwise, it's not really worth going into. Though I appreciated the artwork, the storytelling needed an edit. Just the same, a lovely creation.
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Hattie and the Wild Waves: A Story From Brooklyn (Picture Puffins)
Hattie and the Wild Waves: A Story From Brooklyn (Picture Puffins) by Barbara Cooney (Paperback - July 1, 1993)
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