Monday, 28 April 2008

It's Harry!

Now I have two little girls of my own I'm really enjoying revisiting books I remember reading as a child.

I started reading bits of Winnie the Pooh to them when they were babies on the premise that it's never too young to start. Then we moved on to Beatrix Potter's lovely tales, particularly Peter Rabbit.
One book I really remember my mum reading to me is 'Harry the Dirty Dog' by Gene Zion. This is the charming tale of a 'white dog with black spots' who runs off to play rather than have a bath. When he returns he is so dirty that he has turned into a 'black dog with white spots' and the family don't recognise him. But he convinces them to give him a bath and, as they wash off the dirt, they realise: "It's Harry! It's Harry! It's Harry."

I remember being so thrilled by the "It's Harry!" bit. We all used to chorus it together, delightedly. I have just read it to my girls this evening and they are the same. I wonder, if they ever have any children, if they will remember 'Harry' or will it be 'The Gruffalo' or 'Hairy Mclary' that they read with fond memories.

When we were older and had moved on to 'The Famous Five', 'The Secret Seven' and 'Swallows and Amazons' Mum posted our original copy of 'Harry' to my many cousins in Melbourne and Perth, Australia. It was passed around that generation of the Australian family. They are now on gap years and the last time one of them was visiting she was happy to report that the book is still going strong with a new generation of tinies chanting: "It's Harry! It's Harry! It's Harry!"


  1. OOooo got little shivers when you all shouted 'it's Harry . . .how lovely that the book is still being read by members of your extended family and in Australia - how cool is that.

  2. What a lovely story PM to tell your children, no doubt they will read this book to their children too.

    Wonderful for you to know that special book is still being read by members of your family across the waters in Australia.


  3. I havem't read it but that's a very cute post! (Have got truck loads at Hotel H but hope to catch up after that!)

  4. I never had it read to me when I was a child but I used when I was teaching as it became a firm favourite with a class of infants, one year in particular. Thanks for the reminder of happy times not so long ago.

  5. I remember Harry - I sued to get him out the libraryin Thirsk when I was very small...wonderful!

  6. Morning Mags. I am a huge fan of Winnir and friends too, but don't know Harry. I really like the idea for the story though so shall have to investigate this one for Isabella - and me of course! xx

  7. We love Harry here too - H was especially thrilled when he was about 3 to find another book with his name on the front!
    And Hairy McLary & Co too - do you have Zachary Quack? Pittery, pattery, skittery, scattery, zip! Just like our dog (even though it was the duck that was so manic in the story).


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