Thursday, July 28, 2011

Children's Book Review: Harry And The Lady Next Door

Name of Book: Harry And The Lady Next Door
Author / Illustrator: Written by Gene Zion and Illustrated by Margaret Bloy Graham
What It's All About: Harry does not like the lady next door.  She sings and sings all day long.  Harry tries to find ways to make her stop singing: cows that sing low and smooth, frogs that croak loudly, the marching band from the parade, but nothing will stop the lady next door from singing.  But as it turns out it's a good thing nothing will make her stop singing.  Because she is brave and sings even with frogs jumping all around the stage (courtesy of Harry) she wins first prize: studying music in a faraway land.  Harry is happy to wish her bon voyage and even happier when her goodbye song from the boat is cut off by the loud horn of the ship as it sails away. 
My Favorite Bit: I love the illustrations in this story.  I love when Harry gets so mad at the singing he bites the leg of the piano instead of the lady next door.  I love the way the people in the town are drawn, and we come back to this world again and again to read all about Harry the dog.  There are several other Harry books that I'll review here eventually as we love them all. 

Suitable Age For Reading It To: This book is divided into mini chapters that are great for beginning readers. The print is large and the pictures are so engaging. My four year old loves to hear this and my nine year old loves to read it.  Any age in between would be happy to have it.  Harry is for everyone.
Go Get It: Harry And The Lady Next Door on Amazon US in paperback
A Little About The Author / Illustrator: Eugene Zion was born in 1913 in New York city.  He worked for CBS and as a freelance writer and designer.  He married Margaret Bloy Graham in 1948 and collaborated with her on many books including all the Harry books.  They divorced in 1968, he stopped writing children's books and died in 1975. 
Margaret Bloy Graham was born in Toronto, Canada and spent summers as a child in England and the US.  In the 1940's she moved to New York City to be a commercial artist where she met Gene Zion.  Their first book together was All Falling Down for which they received a Caldecott honor.  Margaret wrote and illustrated books on her own as well including Be Nice To Spiders and the Benjy series.

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