Harry the Dirty Dog
What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that children get a vicarious kick out of Harry's escape from home, and love the verbal and visual build-up from "very dirty" to "dirtier" to "dirtiest of all."
What's the story?
Harry the dog goes to great lenghts to avoid his bath. Most children love dogs, and the mischievous Harry has real-dog allure. Children can identify with Harry and the occasional desire to escape the restraints of home--and bath. Expressive illustrations, with old-fashioned charm, add funny details to the charming story.
Is it any good?
In print since 1956, HARRY THE DIRTY DOG testifies to the continuing appeal of a simple tale, low-key humor, and a likable main character. But what really makes this and the other Harry stories stand out is Margaret Bloy Graham's pen-and-ink, pastel-washed drawings. Harry, a black-and-white spotted mutt with little short legs, a stubby tail, and an upturned nose, is surely one of the most appealing dogs in children's literature.
Being a dog, he perceives his world in an amusingly animal-centric way. Humans, although loved and needed, are just more fauna in Harry's life, and he's smarter than his family. All this helps children rejoice in their identification with Harry, but the story isn't really about all-out rebellion. Harry appreciates his home -- he just wants to have more control over bath time.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about how Harry changes his mind. Why was it so important for him to take a bath?