No Roses for Harry!

Book review by
Linda Rahm-Crites, Common Sense Media
No Roses for Harry! Book Poster Image
Everyone comes out a winner in delightful story.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Positive Messages

Harry tries to lose a handmade gift.

Violence & Scariness

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that the depictions of dogs, cats, birds, and insects, not to mention Harry himself, are a delight for both children and grown-ups. Harry goes to great lengths to try to "lose" an unwanted gift.

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What's the story?

Who hasn't received a well-intentioned but totally inappropriate gift? Harry determines to lose the embarrassing rose-patterned dog sweater from Grandma, but his efforts are constantly thwarted, until he receives help from a loose stitch and a nesting bird. Marvelous illustrations keep kids giggling at fashion victim Harry even as they sympathize with his plight.


Is it any good?

Children approaching the peer-group and fashion-consciousness mode of preschool and first grade readily respond to this story, which safely and humorously displaces some of their concerns onto Harry. The old-fashioned style of the book (first published in 1958) doesn't seem to be a problem, and, for many grown-up readers, it's a bonus. Nostalgia-prone adults will love Graham's small town, where people dress up to go shopping and every little store has its resident pet.

Margaret Graham's deft rendering of Harry's features -- ears, eyes, tail, and posture -- eloquently convey Harry's dejection and shame when he finds himself mocked by his canine peers. Likewise, as his family searches fruitlessly for the missing sweater, Harry assumes a look of combined innocence and craftiness.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about embarrassment. Have you ever felt silly about wearing something? Why? What did you do?

Book details

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