Hi there... This is the first page of the Letter "H" in an alphabetical list of children's books reviewed on ReadThatAgain.com... All these books are also listed by Author in another section of the site.

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Kids Books -- "H" By Title
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"Hairy Maclary And Zachary Quack"
Written by Lynley Dodd
Illustrated by Lynley Dodd
(Gareth Stevens/Tricycle Press, 1999)

A precocious little yellow duckling follows Hairy all over, finding the shaggy rascal wherever he tries to hide... Finally, when Hairy runs into a little swimming trouble, Zachary helps him out, and Hairy follows the duckling! Another cute entry in this pleasantly rhyming series.

"Hairy Maclary From Donaldson's Dairy"
Written by Lynley Dodd
Illustrated by Lynley Dodd
(Gareth Stevens/Tricycle Press, 1983)

This book introduces us to wiley, wiry Hairy Maclary, and the canine cast that populates his neighborhood. The "Hairy Maclary" all follow pretty much the same formula, which is to follow the scruffy terrier through some mild misadventures while wrapping the plot around long rhymes that are built around the goofy-sounding, ethnically-tinged names of the various cats and dogs he encounters. I wouldn't recommend reading several of these books at the same time -- they all sound too much alike -- but taken one at a time, they are kinda fun. Lightweight, but engaging, with a fun, functional, pleasantly lilting rhyme scheme... Recommended for a nice, quick read. (B+)

"Hairy Maclary's Bone"
Written by Lynley Dodd
Illustrated by Lynley Dodd
(Gareth Stevens, 1984)

The wiley, wiry Hairy Maclary outwits several bigger dogs who want to nibble on his new bone. Another lightweight, but engaging, read, with a bit of drama in there as well. Not great literature, but fun nonetheless. (B+)

"Hairy Maclary, Scattercat"
Written by Lynley Dodd
Illustrated by Lynley Dodd
(Gareth Stevens, 1985)

Possibly the best book of the "Hairy" series. Feeling rambunctious, the dastardly little dog chases several of the neighborhood cats, harassing them until he comes across Scarface Claw, the toughest cat in town. A simple, effective story of a bully getting his quick comeuppance. As with the other Hairy Maclary books, this features an effective, engaging rhyme... Fun, with good artwork and lots of action.

"Hairy Maclary's Show Business"
Written by Lynley Dodd
Illustrated by Mallinson Rendel
(Gareth Stevens, 1993)

That rascal Hairy crashes a cat show and gets a special mention ribbon of his own, after causing a bit of a ruckus... Fans of the cat-oriented Slinky Malinky series will enjoy the visual details: cats being given awards for "Snootiest" and "Longest Whiskers," etc. (Scarface Claw gets a ribbon for "Worst Temper," while Hairy, possibly mistaken for a cat himself, is awarded first place in the "Scruffiest" category.) This one's a rollercoaster of chaos and claws... but there's a happy ending at last! (B)

"Halloween Hats"
Written by Elizabeth Winthrop
Illustrated by Sue Truesdell
(Henry Holt & Co., 2002)

A joyful, good-natured Halloween book that follows a flock of kids as they descend on their neighborhood to go trick-or-treating. This book has a true synergy between pictures and words: the wittily crafted, rhyming text in a somewhat allusive manner, talks about the various costumes, but it all really only makes sense when you also look at the art. Each page is packed with visual appeal -- Truesdell's playful, cartoonish style is delightful and packed with details -- just talking about which kid is dressed like what will make this a rich reading experience. In the end, the kids all go to a big Halloween party and one of the games they play is to throw all their hats into the air... and mix their costumes up! (Sounds like a good idea -- I'll try it next year!) One of the nicer Pumpkin Day books we've read -- fun and definitely recommended! (A)

"Hannah's Collections"
Written by Marthe Jocelyn
Illustrated by Marthe Jocelyn
(Dutton, 2000)

A cute book that celebrates the mania to collect and classify. Hannah is big girl -- maybe seven or eight years old (?) -- who has a show and tell project at school, which is to bring in "a collection" to show the other kids. The trouble is, Hannah is a total collector nerd and has to many collections to choose from... The photo-collage artwork really helps this book click -- real pictures of buttons, barrettes, earrings, and popsicle sticks, etc. give you a concrete impression of Hannah's stuff, and you can grow as attached to it as she is. If you want to encourage a budding packrat, this is a fun, playful book that rings true in everyt way. Plus, Hannah has such cool stuff! (A)

"Happy Birthday, Lulu!"
Written by Caroline Uff
Illustrated by Caroline Uff
(Walker Books, 2000)

Lulu gets some cards in the mail, gets dressed in her pretty new clothes, has a modest birthday celebration with a handful of friends and her two siblings. Her big gift from her parents is a Noah's Ark toy -- if that sort of religious reference bothers you, you might want to skip this one... Or, you could just call it her "boat." All in all, this one's pretty nice, too... My kid loves these books, though they are a bit brainless. (A)

"The Happy Hedgehog Band"
Written by Martin Waddell
Illustrated by Jill Barton
(Candlewick, 1991)

One of Martin Waddell's lesser works, but still pretty nice. Four hedgehogs build drums and go boom-diddy-boom in the middle of the forest. When the rest of the animals hear them play and want to join in, the lead hedgehog comes up with a way for everybody to have fun. A simple celebration of sound, rhythm, and do-it-yourself musicmaking, this also encourages parents (and other readers) to go wild with the sound effects... Not immortal literature, but a fun book that may help get little kids jazzed about music.

"The Happy Lion"
Written by Louise Fatio
Illustrated by Roger Duvoisin
(McGraw Hill, 1954)

Joining Babar, Curious George and Crictor in the annals of wild-animals-that-are-happier-in-civilization books, The Happy Lion is a thoroughly satisfying, funny story about a friendly lion living in the zoo in a small French town. The lion is beloved by all the townspeople until one day when he discovers his cage has been left open and decides to go on a little jaunt, then finds out how thin the veneer of polite society can be: all his human friends (except one) completely freak out, and the gendarmes are about to forcibly bring the beast to heel when young Francois, the lion's best friend, innocently approaches the lion and walks him back to his cage. This is a thoroughly charming story, with a fine sense of humor, economical writing and a strong dramatic arc (made all the better by the anticlimactic ending) and appealing artwork from Duvoisin. I'd say it's a winner! (B+)

"The Happy Lion Roars"
Written by Louise Fatio
Illustrated by Roger Duvoisin
(McGraw Hill, 1957)

Our feline hero returns, though this time he's a little sad... Spring is in the air, and the Happy Lion realizes that while all the other animals in the zoo have mates, he does not. This sad situation is remedied during a visit to the circus, where the lion meets and falls in love with a beautiful lioness who can leap through flaming hoops... and steal the heart of the king of the jungle! When she runs away from the circus, the whole town comes looking for her... But when zey feegure out zat zee lion ees love, ze French townspeople work things out so that she can join the zoo, instead. Then the Happy Lion is happy again (if you know what I mean...) and so are the folks in town. In a certain respect, this is a more blunt representation of romantic love than most picturebooks you'll see -- not that it's graphic in any way, but parents may want to factor that in with the littlest readers -- but also of the lion's devotion to his partner. While not as smooth a narrative as the first book, this is a nice addition to the Happy Lion series. Recommended! (B-)

"The Happy Lion And The Bear"
Written by Louise Fatio
Illustrated by Roger Duvoisin
(McGraw Hill, 1964)

When the zoo gains another alpha-male animal -- a big, growling bear -- the Happy Lion finds himself struggling to get along with his new neighbor. Despite his best intentions, the two beasts wind up growling and picking fights with each other every time they set eyes on one another. The smaller animals try to cool things down, as does Francois, the zookeeper's son, who likes both of the big brutes. It isn't until Francois slips and has an accident that the two animals find common purpose, and after they help the boy get to the hospital, they realize how silly they had been before. The text is a little clunky, and the animosity between the lion and the bear may be a little troubling for younger readers. But if you're already on the "Happy Lion" bandwagon, this is a fine entry into the series... Not as charming as the first book, but still a good read. (B-)

"Harriet, You'll Drive Me Wild"
Written by Mem Fox
Illustrated by Marla Frazee
(Harcourt, 2000)

Little Harriet, a toddler on the three-ish end of things, has a tendency to be a little accident prone, spilling juice, breaking a plate or two now and then, and she can also be a kinda loud at times. Her work-at-home mom, "who didn't like to yell," finds her patience taxed until, one day Harriet and the family dog play tug of war with a pillow and send feathers flying all over the place. Mom blows her stack and yells and yells and yells, causing Harriet to burst into tears. Then they make up, and the mom explains that she didn't mean to lose her temper, but sometimes that just happens, the same way as Harriet's little accidents. It's a really sweet book about parent-child communication, discipline and negotiation, although smaller readers may find the parent's anger (and the baby crying as a result) to be a little upsetting. At the heart of this book is the wonderful artwork from Marla Frazee (of Everywhere Babies fame)... Recommended! (A-)

"Harry And Lulu"
Written by Arthur Yorinks
Illustrated by Martin Matje
(Hyperion, 1999)

A bratty little girl named Lulu throws a major fit when her folks won't get her a puppy... and things don't get any better when they try giving her a stuffed animal as a substitute. Things are especially bad for the dog, Harry, who has to put up with Lulu's abuse, which continues even when he secretly comes to life and takes her on an imaginary journey to Paris. Eventually, Lulu mellows -- a little -- and she and Harry become fast friends. In some ways, it's nice to see a prickly girl like Lulu keep her rough edges, but there are scenes where Lulu's language is so harsh, and their arguments are so snappish that I've always had to read around the text in several pages. Still, it's a funny fantasy story, and the resolution is very satisfying. Worth checking out, but overprotectivoids (like myself) may find the tone to be a little too harsh. (B)

"Harry The Dirty Dog"
Written by Gene Zion
Illustrated by Margaret Bloy Graham
(Harper Collins, 1958)

One of those books I grew up with that now seem a bit weird. Harry is an impish little dog who runs away from home rather than take a bath. While he's gone, he gets so dirty that his family can't even recognize him... at least not until he takes a bath! Although I vaguely recall liking this book when I was little, as a parent I'm less thrilled by how it demonstrates bad behavior (hating baths, running away, stealing the bath brush and hiding it...) and by how that misbehavior is counterbalanced by an implicitly judgemental, punitive moral. I still like the artwork, but the story has lost some of its lustre over the years. (B-)

"Harry And The Lady Next Door"
Written by Gene Zion
Illustrated by Margaret Bloy Graham
(Harper Collins, 1960)

Kind of a weird book, in which a super-mischievous Harry plots to undo his next-door neighbor, a "lady" who sings opera all day and night. Harry hates the sound of it and does all sorts of conniving, brazen things to try and get her to shut up. A bit of an anti-hero, really. This book could be hilarious if read at the right age; for littler kids the misbehavior and malice may be a bit confusing and disconcerting... (Pardon the pun!) (C)

"Harry By The Sea"
Written by Gene Zion
Illustrated by Margaret Bloy Graham
(Harper Collins, 1965)

Out with the family for a day at the beach, Harry tries to find someplace to hide from the blistering sun... Suddenly, a big wave sweeps him up and covers him with gooey seaweed, and everyone on the beach freaks out and thinks he's a sea monster of some kind. The slapstick mishaps are told, sympathetically, from Harry's point of view... When the seaweed finally falls off and Harry is reunited with his family, we're glad for the little fella. One of the strongest stories in the "Harry" series -- dramatic, funny, easy to follow, and accompanied by marvelous artwork by Ms. Graham, who is one of my all-time faves. (B+)

"Has Anyone Here Seen William?"
Written by Bob Graham
Illustrated by Bob Graham
(Little, Brown & Co., 1989)

A cute quicky about an irrepresible, adventurous toddler who is always gotten into something a little too exciting by the time anyone realizes he's disappeared from sight. This is a nice early work from Graham -- he doesn't quite have the mastery of the form that make his later books so enchanting, but it's still a lovely book. For starters, William is one cute little kid, and most parents will quickly identify with the mix of nervous laughter and heart-stopping chaos that make the toddler world so memorable. Sweet. (For more books by this author, see our Bob Graham profile page) (B)

"Have You Seen My Cat?"
Written by Eric Carle
Illustrated by Eric Carle
(Simon & Schuster, 1987)

Pretty artwork, not much of a story. A child goes from person to person, asking if they've seen their cat, and gets steered towards lions, panthers, tigers, et.al. Finally, we find the tortoise-shell tabby, with all of her kittens, and the child cries, "This is my cat!" Yippee. Maybe fun for the youngest readers, but I didn't find it very involving. (C)

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