Posts Tagged With: Gene Zion

Harry the (Wonderful) Dirty Dog

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.

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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?

Categories: Books we love, Oldie but Goodie | Tags: , , , , , | 7 Comments

Launch into the kidlitosphere!

Welcome to the first post of the blog For the love of kidlit!

I want to start by showing off the books that my kids and I loved reading the most when they were younger.


Some of these are award-winners, and some of these I never hear anyone talk about, like Lucy Cousins’s books. The one Maisy book in the photo represents the dozens that we read contantly. Both boys also loved the rhythm and lyricism in Jamberry, The Snowy Day, Chicken Soup with Riceand the poem that was written for A Magical Day with Matisse. My younger son Sam requested these all the way into elementary school.

That’s our second copy of Pat the Bunnyafter the first was maimed by all the baby fingers that found it so fascinating. The Tiger Has a Toothache is the only non-fiction selection, but the kids loved seeing all the different ways animals could be helped. Peppe the Lamplighter and A Dark, Dark Tale  (my older son Marty remembers this one as particularly scary!) were treasures I found at a library sale.

Missing from this photo are Sandra Boynton‘s books … I must have given them away! Also missing is Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? (I have an incredible video of Sam reciting this to himself before he was two, he couldn’t say some of the words… I’ll post it soon!) and The Caboose Who Got Looseone of my personal childhood favorites. I spent hours drawing Katy and the cabin in the trees. I was thrilled when I found it among the Bill Peet reprints in the store, along with reprints of Harry the Dirty Dog! I loved Harry and the bath and that sweater and the bird!

Does anyone else remember any of the other books? I have clear memories of reading Sylvester and the Magic Pebble when I was very little. The ending was thrilling every single time, and it thrilled me again when I read it to my boys.

What books did you love to read when you were little? What did you love to share with your kids?

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