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Harvey Hardcover – October 1, 2010

5 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 3-6–Harvey feels invisible. No one ever really notices him. His younger, taller brother is the one who stands out. Harvey spends most his days racing toothpicks along street corners against the neighborhood children. When he comes home one day to find that his father has died of a heart attack, he discovers that he is the one person who can help his brother understand their family's tragedy. Harvey's first-person perspective captures the grief and innocence of a child's greatest loss. The muted watercolor-inspired style is dark and sad, emotionally appropriate without being too over the top. Many pages are without text. For example, when the crowd outside Harvey's house slowly scatters after the ambulance departs, several pages are devoted to showing his mother standing outside their home alone. While the overall melancholy feel of this title might leave many children depressed, it is a great graphic novel to give to a younger child trying to understand the pain of bereavement.–Ryan Donovan, New York Public Libraryα(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist

In this Canadian graphic novel, a young boy comes home from playing to see his father being wheeled out of the house on a gurney after suffering a fatal heart attack. His mother fades into her room and isolation, and he slides into the enormous task of taking on grief that is simply too large to fully grasp. Nadeau’s charcoally, naïf-style artwork has the loose-figured feel of a child’s drawings that belies its sophistication, especially apparent in two standout sequences that add tiny notes of humor and humanity to the melancholy story. In the first, Harvey remembers the film The Incredible Shrinking Man, providing a piercing reflection of his own inner state. In the second, Harvey listens and records in pictures what people say about his father at the funeral, getting carried away as “tight in the collar” gives way to “waffle topped” and “crackly complexioned.” Although adults may be more attuned to the complex portrayal of being bowled over by catastrophic loss, for children this open-ended book is deserving of discussion, difficult though it may be. Grades 5-8. --Ian Chipman
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 10 and up
  • Grade Level: 4 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 730L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 168 pages
  • Publisher: Groundwood Books (October 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1554980755
  • ISBN-13: 978-1554980758
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 6.2 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,062,345 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

This book was an absolute joy to read. It had some really funny moments and some really sad moments. Most of all, it had many touching moments. There were just so many parts where you just felt what Harvey and his brother were going through. I also loved how there were so many scenes when the author completely nailed what it is like to be a kid in both good and bad times. I almost wondered if a child did not help him write it. This was in the Young Adult Graphic Novel section of our library. I have no idea where I would put it. To me it was more like a lengthy picture book for adults. there were not even remotely enough words in it to call it a graphic novel. For the most part it was framed like a picture book, but there were a lot of scenes that were clearly a wink at the knowing adult that was reading this. The title is simple and yet completely forgetable. I know that is kind of like what the author was trying to say about the boy in the story, but I worry no one will want to read this book when they see it because of such a boring title. Though I thought the ending left the reader hanging a little too much for my taste, I would still say this is a great book that explores death through a child's eyes.
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A bittersweet, touching story with lovely illustrations. The part where Harvey and his brother were looking all over the house for their dead father made me feel like crying. I can see why this won so many awards. I think this would be a good book for children who have recently lost a parent or other close family member.
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By Phoebe on December 3, 2012
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Such a beautiful and touching book. The quality of my order was excellent. I would recommend this ten times over.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By AOB on February 9, 2013
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So French! Loved the illustrations! Touched me in a way that put me in the boys' shoes and made me feel their loss.
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1 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Liz W. on July 14, 2011
Young Harvey and his brother come home after playing with the other neighborhood children to learn that their father has suffered a fatal heart attack. Harvey compares his situation to the fate of Scott Carey, the hero from his favorite film, The Incredible Shrinking Man, who begins shrinking in size after his exposure to a shower of mysterious sparkling dust. During his father's funeral, Harvey becomes invisible. The art, with its pencil and pastel drawings, is like the story: surreal and simplistic. Most libraries seem to place this book in their juvenile section, and although the story seems to seethe with an undercurrent of psychological meaning, and to be infused with the haunting weight of grief, this reviewer doubts that American children will be able to make much sense of it. Recommended for Ages 13-Up, or for those who appreciate surrealism.
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