Taming Horrible Harry
Lili Chartrand, , illus. by Rogé, trans. by Susan Ouriou. . Tundra, $16.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-88776-772-2
Despite the enthusiasm of its toothy monster hero, the energy of this tale is diluted by its heavy-handed plea about the transformative power of books. Horrible Harry, with his plaid pants, tomato body and Pinocchio nose, spends his days guarding the forest until he finds a book, learns how to read and becomes an unapologetic bookworm. When Horrible Harry shares the book's story with the other monsters, their heads grow "so full of beautiful pictures and wonderful stories that [the monsters stop] scaring away humans" and spend their time "daydreaming about beautiful princesses and the brave monsters that come to rescue them." Initially, like a toddler, Harry tries tasting the book he discovers, until he becomes intrigued by one of the volume's "gorgeous picture[s]." But after Delores del Dragon teaches him to read, Harry's hapless ignorance is quickly replaced by enthusiastic delight. Hard-working emerging readers may be dismayed to discover that it takes Horrible Harry "no time at all to learn how to read," but they will identify with his joy when he reads his very own book "over and over again." Rogé's splashy artwork includes plenty of grinning monsters with varying numbers of eyes and heads, plates and jars full of monster eyeballs, and enough monster details to beguile the picture-book crowd. Ages 4-up.
Reviewed on: 05/22/2006