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Imagine Harry Hardcover – June 1, 2007
"Rebound" by Kwame Alexander
Don't miss best-selling author Kwame Alexander's "Rebound," a new companion novel to his Newbery Award-winner, "The Crossover," illustrated with striking graphic novel panels. Learn more
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From School Library Journal
PreSchool-Grade 1—Little Rabbit and his imaginary best friend do everything together until the youngster starts school. While Harry's status is never explicitly stated, he is represented by a blank space, and the bunny's friends call him "Imagine Harry." The text strikes a balance between humor and understanding without patronizing Little Rabbit. His mother is good-natured about her son's request for two lemonades and four cookies so that he can share with his companion, but her patience begins to wears thin after he says he cannot go to bed, wash his hair, or eat Brussels sprouts because of Harry. As Little Rabbit adjusts to school and his life begins to fill up with new friends and activities, Harry fades away until one day he is startled to realize that he has not seen his imaginary playmate in weeks. The acrylic illustrations reflect the gradual change, as the empty spaces become less prominent and eventually disappear. Warm tones of apricot, blue, and brown infuse the pictures, reinforcing the themes of acceptance and love. Detailed settings emphasize the importance of home and school in the rabbit's life, such as multiple family photos hanging on the walls. The family is composed of himself and his mother, a fact that is never mentioned but will be appreciated by single parents looking for books that reflect their own lives. Make room on the shelf for this warm, funny story.—Suzanne Myers Harold, Multnomah County Library System, Portland, OR
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*Starred Review* Most people have heard of Harvey the rabbit, Elwood P. Dowd's invisible pal. Here, the protagonist, Little Rabbit, has an invisible friend named Harry. They have all the usual fun, and Mother makes sure she gives Harry the requisite number of cookies and doesn't accidentally sit on him. When Little Rabbit starts school, Harry, comes too. One day, during a particularly fun music class, Harry tells Little Rabbit that he's going to take a nap. When Mother later asks Little Rabbit where Harry is, Little Rabbit admits with surprise that his friend has moved away. In words and art, this strikes just the right chord. The gentle yet witty text captures the importance of imaginary friends in a young child's life, even as it reinforces the idea that they disappear when no longer needed. The message plays out in beautifully crafted acrylic paintings that create a child's whole worlddays both snowy and sunny, all kinds of friends, a household with scattered toys, and a warm mother-son relationship. The ending is nostalgic but true to a child's understanding. Cooper, Ilene
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Little Rabbit and Harry do everything together. They roll down hills, play in the snow, share meals together with Mother Rabbit. Mother Rabbit sometimes tires of Harry's whims, as Harry likes to stay up late and doesn't like his hair washed. When Little Rabbit informs Mother that Harry can't eat brussels sprouts, because he "didn't like the smell," Mother says, "Your friend is starting to wear out his welcome." Poor Harry.
When Little Rabbit begins school, Harry has to sit with his best friend at the same desk and be very quiet. Over time, as Little Rabbit makes more and more new friends, Harry absents himself from Little Rabbit's life. In the end,
"Little Rabbit made many new friends that first year of school. He didn't think about Harry very much--except once in a while in the spring, when the smell of new grass reminded Little Rabbit of the hills he and Harry used to roll down together.
Harry loved doing that."
As anywhere from one-third to two-thirds of all children have at least one imaginary friend before the age of seven (depending on which study you trust), "Imagine Harry" brings comfort to both the child and the adult reader. Kate Klise's poignant story is straightforward, compassionate and fun, while her sister's warm illustrations are reminiscent of Clement Hurd in the best of all possible ways. (Little Rabbit even sleeps in a green room.)
"Imagine Harry" is highly recommended for all children ages three to eight.
It's time to rejoice ! Sisters Kate & Sarah Klise continue to make the world a lovelier place due to their storytelling skill, love of humanity and terrific insights on community, family & love.
Opening this book & sharing it with a child is like sharing... a hug !
Sarah uses wondrous, inviting, vibrant colors that lift readers from the ordinary and takes them "over the rainbow" into a fun place of imagination, tenderness and caring. Kate casts a spell by presenting accessible, nurturing and real moments.
We all had an imaginary friend when we were young, didn't we??? On the cinema screen, Jimmy Stewart had Harvey, the 6 foot tall invisible hopper.
In this joyous picture book that celebrates play, creativity and friendship, we meet Little Rabbit and get introduced to his mom and, of course, his magical, hard-to-see but easy-to-imagine ally and companion Harry.
I've pre-ordered 15 copies of "Imagine Harry" and am sending it to all my friends -- whether they have kids or not.
If I was an independent bookstore or even the local B & N or Borders, I'd plan on including this family-friendly romp in the next "Bring your pillows" or "Milk & cookies" reading circle oriented to moms & toddlers.