Parents' Guide to

Harry by the Sea

By Linda Rahm-Crites, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 4+

An appealing main character and plenty of action.

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From a hot dog (Harry) to a hot-dog stand, HARRY BY THE SEA captures not only the fun but also the potential mishaps of a family outing to the seaside. Any child who has ever been lost in a crowd will identify with Harry's attempt to find his family amid the almost indistinguishable humans on the beach. The text softens Harry's plight by giving the panic to the people, who think Harry is a scary sea monster, and by reassurances that his family has been searching for him, too.

Humorous touches -- both textual and visual -- abound, such as the expressions and gestures of illustrator Margaret Bloy Graham's bathers and Harry's mistaking the hot-dog man's cry of "Hurry! Hurry! Hurry!" for "Harry! Harry! Harry!" A big orange sun shines down in every one of Graham's illustrations, making the crowded beach setting cheery. Children love Graham's drawings, but adults will also appreciate a certain satiric edge in her portrayal of humans' herdlike behavior.

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