Monday, October 5, 2020

Harry the Dirty Dog by Gene Zion and Margaret Bloy Graham #1956Club

The 1956 Club is part of a meme created by Simon at Stuck in a Book and Karen at Kaggsy's Bookish Ramblings to showcase books published in a specific year.  Other featured years are 1924, 1938, 1944, 1947, 1951, 1965, 1968, and 1977.
Author: Gene Zion
Illustrator: Margaret Bloy Graham
Publication: HarperCollins, hardcover, 1956
Genre: Picture Book
: Harry was a white dog with black spots who liked everything, except . . . getting a bath. So one day when he heard the water running in the tub, he took the scrubbing brush and buried it in the backyard. Then he ran away from home.

Harry has a lot of fun frolicking around the neighborhood that day but gets very dirty.  In fact, he changed from a white dog with black spots to a black dog with white spots.  When Harry goes home, his own family doesn’t recognize him – even when he does all his clever tricks!  What will it take to get this scamp of a dog out of the proverbial doghouse?
My Impression: Harry the Dirty Dog is one of the best-loved picture books of all time, due to the brilliance of this husband/wife team.  The words are simple but Harry’s personality comes through and the humor of the story is illuminated by the illustrations.  And many children are like Harry and do not like taking bath.  Under the guidance of legendary editor Ursula Nordstrom, Zion and Graham created four books about Harry, an appealing dog with a mind of his own (he survived longer than their marriage).  In contrast, Harry’s family is nameless – there is no doubt he is the star of this series and is beloved by generations of children and those reading aloud to them. 

If you like this one, try my second favorite, No Roses for Harry, in which Harry rebels against his new sweater.  My sister considered the name Harry for her new puppy but ultimately went with Cosmo.
Cosmo - 3 months

If you’ve never encountered Harry the Dirty Dog, let actress Betty White read it to you!

Source: Personal copy

Images copyright to HarperCollins


kaggsysbookishramblings said...

Love it! And that's so what dogs do - my family owned white west highland terriers for years, and they never stayed white for long!

TracyK said...

This is a great 1956 book. It looks familiar, we certainly read enough children's books to my son when he was young. Regardless, it looks very good, and I like the illustrations.

Brona said...

One my personal favourites too.
You're so right, he is definitely the star of this series :-)

Dixie Lee said...

This was my baby brother's favorite, I read it to him hundreds of times.

Katrina said...

I have quite a collection of children's books but I've never come across this one. I love the illustrations.

Karen K. said...

One of my childhood favorites! I read it to my kids when they were little and they enjoyed it just as much. I loved the whole series and I think my favorite part was Harry by the Sea, when Harry covered in seaweed and everyone think's he's a monster. So cute.

CLM said...

It is hard to convey the charm of even a classic picture book so I appreciate your reading this post!

I guess it never made it to the UK, Katrina, although so popular here I just saw the publisher has commissioned someone to do a new book (which I do not approve of).

Karen, oddly enough I only have a faint recollection of Harry by the Sea. I think we owned Harry the Dirty Dog and No Roses for Harry. My mother is a big opera fan so did not appreciate Harry and the Lady Next Door where Harry is bothered by the singing!