cover image Harrys Mad

Harrys Mad

Dick King-Smith, Smith Dick King. Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers, $11.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-517-56254-3

Harry's parents and friends think he's mad, because he acts out the rich fantasies of his 10-year-old imagination. And when his eccentric American uncle dies and leaves Harry a parrot named Madison (Mad), they're convinced of it. Mad is no ordinary parroting parrot; he's a linguist, a crossword-puzzle ace, a chess champ and a gourmet. The cozy English family agrees to keep Mad's extraordinary talents secretuntil a burglar kidnaps the bird. It seems as if Harry's Mad has been lost forever, but happily all ends well. Once again, King-Smith ( Babe: The Gallant Pig, Pigs Might Fly, etc.) has devised a believable, satisfying animal fantasy, with memorable characterizations and playful humor. Bennett provides lively, charming pen-and-ink drawings that are perfectly in keeping with the story; this is a sprightly read-aloud and a treat for the author's considerable following. Ages 812. (February)