Week 4, Part 2: Picture Books I


For this week, my online partner Venus Chavez chose Harry the Dirty Dog as one of the picture books to evaluate. Of this book, she aptly wrote, “this book is a classic because it contains a reliable character that most children can recognize and adore.” This character’s dislike of taking a bath, too, is relatable to lots of children who hate the chore of becoming clean after the fun of getting messy, and therefore the “perspective [remains] true to the less experienced worldview of the young child[ren],” (Vardell, 2014, p. 59).

I found two book reviews on Harry the Dirty Dog’s newer editions from its original 1956 edition: Sylvia Firth’s review in Children Literature, found on the CLCD; and on Publisher’s Weekly. Both reviews had positive comments about the newer editions, in which Margaret Bloy Graham, the original illustrator, created new images and added “splashes of colors.” Sylvia Firth’s review especially focused on the improved look to the book, stating, “Graham’s newly drawn illustrations are perfectly attuned to the story and add greatly to its enjoyment.” The focus on the new illustrations to a classic story that has, content-wise, stayed exactly the same proves that images are just as vital as the ideas are (Vardell, 2014) – and that classic books can remain relevant with a modern, fresh look.


Chavez, Venus. (2017, February 20). Classic Books [Blog Post]. Retrieved from https://32v23.wordpress.com/2017/02/20/classic-books/

Firth, Sylvia. (n.d.). [Review of the book Harry the Dirty Dog by Gene Zion]. Available from Children’s Literature Comprehensive Database: http://www.clcd.com.queens.ezproxy.cuny.edu:2048/#/bookdetail/1/0/oFolm LILMqiQJqKn/bdrtop

Vardell, S. (2014). Children’s literature in action. A librarian’s guide (2nd ed.). Westport, CT: Libraries Unlimited.

(n.d.) [Review of the book Harry the Dirty Dog by Gene Zion]. Available from Publisher’s Weekly Website: http://www.publishersweekly.com/978-0-06-026865-7


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