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Harry and the Hot Lava Paperback – February 23, 2014
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Robertson is obviously familiar with the inner workings of his inner child and manages to capture this frenetic activity beautifully on the page. It's impossible not to get caught up in all the excitement generated by Harry's wonderful imagination.
Now if you'll excuse me, I think I still might be able to make the leap from the couch to the love seat...
Note that I don't really do stars. To me a book is either worth reading or it isn't. I can't rate it three-fifths worth reading! The only reason I've relented and started putting stars up there is to credit the good ones, which were being unfairly uncredited. So, all you'll ever see from me is a five-star or a one-star (since no stars isn't a rating, unfortunately).
I rated this book WORTHY!
This is a very short children's picture book, so there isn’t a lot to review. It’s about a kid with a delightfully wild imagination (he reminds me of my own kids whose imaginations, thankfully, have never deserted them even though they're now way too old for a book like this), who appears to be stranded amidst hot lava which is invading his home from all quarters. Can he leap to freedom? Where will he land? (You might be surprised!)
The drawings are rudimentary but very colorful, and really evocative. The book is as full of excitement and danger as Harry is full of ideas and wild descriptions, but he never panics, and is always planning his escape. This is definitely something your kids will want to play - perhaps after exploring what real lava looks like - not in person of course - but from the safety of a TV documentary or something on the web.
Who knows, perhaps you have a budding vulcanologist in your family? I recommend this book for a fun read alone, but it’s also a great starting point for a chance to stir your child's imagination about the wonders of planet Earth and it's geology and inner structure.
Of course, you don't want to load them up with learning, learning, learning and nothing else, so it occurs to me that a whole day could be themed around this as they're encouraged to explore the idea, starting with the book, then a video, then perhaps go looking for rocks in the yard or at the park (assuming your park isn't buried under snow at this point!), and imagine how hot things would have to be to melt an actual rock! You can have them practice their motor skills emulating Harry's escapes (with due safety precautions, of course!), have them develop confidence and cool-thinking skills, and also have them appreciate a little more the wonderful and complex planet on which we're all privileged to live.
Top international reviews
Reading this book reminded me of when children have a what we used to call in our house a 'mad half-hour', running,chasing, screeching and laughing, the type of behaviour that makes parents quickly say 'okay now, lets just sit quietly and look at some books.'
The illustrations in Harry and the Hot Lava are cute, colourful, dynamic and very well drawn. However the story is minimal, not really a story at all. I somehow think that once the impact of first seeing it was over it's not a book that could be read over again very much.
Great fun, though. 3.5 stars
It's a nice idea, but possibly most effective for the parent and children who came up with the idea and wrote it, as an inside joke almost.
The language isn't the easiest to read as a parent at bedtime. It doesn't flow (pardon the pun) easily. I did like the ending, but again, my son (almost four) didn't really get it and needed it explaining.
We both did like the colours and illustrations however, nice representation of the lava. I would like him to enjoy this, as he is starting to play with imagination more, but it just hasn't worked for us yet.