Happy Picture Book Month! Meet another one of my personal childhood favorites, the Harry the Dirty Dog books by Gene Zion, illustrated by Margaret Bloy Graham. I still remember the happy feeling I got from Harry’s transformative bath (is that a spoiler?), the bird’s nest, and how much Harry was loved by his family. I don’t have too many memories from my early childhood, but 40 years later, I do remember these books and how much I loved the stories. That’s as good a recommendation as any book is going to get! Needless to say, I was thrilled to find them reissued when my boys were little.
My favorite is No Roses for Harry! I love the bird and the great sweater Harry gets at the end of the book. (Is that a spoiler, too? These books have been read for almost 60 years, can we still have spoilers?) The books are wonderful for reading aloud or for newly independent beginning readers.
Gene Zion was talked into writing the Harry books by Ursula Nordstrom, editor for Harper’s Department of Books for Boys and Girls for more than three decades. She was responsible for many of the most beloved books of the last century. Read a fascinating blog post from Maria Popova about Nordstrom and Maurice Sendak.
Here is Betty White’s charming reading of the first Harry book (from Storylineonline).
Which Harry book is your favorite? Do you love these books as much as I do?