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Book review: Hattie and Friends - A Day at the Park

Written by Lesley Berrington and illustrated by Karen Middleton
Available from
Ages: 0–10

Reviewed by Lynn, mum to Freya (6) who is profoundly deaf with cochlear implants.


“The front cover of this storybook has an illustration of two children, Hattie and Toby. Toby has a visible cochlear implant and my daughter noticed it immediately and commented on it admiringly! The book is a simple and pleasant story about a day at the park with a character who happens to have an implant. No mention is made of Toby’s implant or any hearing loss/deafness in the narrative itself. I think that my little girl really got a kick out of seeing herself represented in a storybook that was focused on something other than the implants.

The story follows two families on their busy day at the park. The characters all use speech and the language is geared towards younger children. I found the text a little tough to read, especially in low light, as it was overlaid directly onto the pictures rather than being on a plain background. The illustrations are packed with little extra details for children to explore – there’s lots to talk about on every page.

I love the idea of the positive inclusion of deafness in all aspects of play and development, and I think books like this can contribute to improvement in self-esteem as well as promoting positive attitudes in the wider community. My daughter is the only child with cochlear implants in her school and she’ll often spot another person’s hearing aids 100 yards away! She likes to see herself represented and this book did a great job of exactly that. We also liked the diversity shown with lots of different characters. This is a lively storybook for all young children and we enjoyed reading it together.”