Monday, May 13, 2013

Stepping back into the archives - A re-review of "No Roses for Harry" by Gene Zion and Margaret Bloy Graham (Red Fox Picture Books)

We finally made it to the Library, YAY! When we spotted this in the library stacks (I'm still surprised we don't actually own a copy, something I need to rectify as soon as possible!) I thought it'd be a great opportunity to revisit the first book we ever reviewed on this blog. Back when Charlotte was a very busy little toddler and I first had the idea of doing a book blog with her, this was the book we chose to review first.

If you're unfamiliar with the Harry books, they're oldies but goodies - first published in the late 1950s but still as funny and brilliant (if a little dated looking) as they were back then.

In this adventure, Harry the white dog with black spots is given a new sweater for his birthday by Grandma. Only...well, you know what grandmas are like. It's not exactly 'en vogue' - It's green with huge yellow roses all over it.

Harry hates the sweater on sight, and though it's cosy and snug, all the other dogs and children laugh at Harry as he walks past.

Harry is determined to 'accidentally' lose the sweater, and we follow his various efforts to do so in a huge department store.

Trying and failing, it takes the timely intervention of a cheeky bird to finally rid Harry of the pesky birthday gift. But with Granny visiting soon, has Harry done the right thing?

Charlotte's reaction to this was much the same as it was originally. Though we've enjoyed it many times since, it's probably been a few years since we last dipped into it so it was a joy to find that she still loves Harry just as much as she always did (in fact we do still read the three Harry books we DO have at home - Harry the Dirty Dog, Harry and the Lady Next Door and Harry by the Sea very regularly). It's a real shame that the original huge range of Harry books has been pared down to just these four and the others (like "Harry and the Baby") have never been reprinted. Children today would love Harry's antics, the bold artwork and the amusing situations he finds himself in. In a market packed to the gills with doggy books, Harry still reigns supreme.

Charlotte's best bit: The fabulous birds nest at the end of the book.

Daddy's favourite bit: Great jazzy illustrations, and tons of amusement at Harry's various failed attempts to lose that pesky sweater.

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