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Taming Horrible Harry

by Lili Chartrand
illustrated by Rogé
translated by Susan Ouriou

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reviews: 2
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monsters, books & libraries, paranormal
list price: $22.99
published: 2006
publisher: Tundra
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Canadian Children's  Book Centre
Librarian review

Taming Horrible Harry

Horrible Harry is a mean monster from the great forest who scares humans with his terrible roar. One day, he is ignored by a little girl reading a book. Confused and furious, he screams again and scares the girl who leaves her book in the forest. Dolores del Dragon finds Harry enjoying the book, and agrees to teach Harry to read. “From then on, Harry did nothing but read.” Since he was busy reading, he no longer scared people, but instead of becoming a monster outcast, the other monsters ask Harry to read to them! And so, the forest becomes a very different place, with monsters no longer scaring people but dreaming about princesses and knights.

The graphic elements are absolutely breathtaking! The font does not detract from the wacky yet wonderfully vibrant illustrations. Horrible Harry’s bright red body, blue tongue, and yellow plaid pants are truly horrible! In addition, the illustrations have a lot of information which is not in the text itself: Harry’s big teeth and scary cave, Dolores del Dragon’s tiny reading glasses, and the scary eyes of the other monsters.

Providing excellent links to literacy for young readers, this book explores the power of the printed word while still telling an interesting story of discovery, scary monsters, and deep dark forests. Even the scariest monster can become a lifelong reader!

Source: The Canadian Children's Bookcentre. Summer 2006. Vol.29 No. 3.

Canadian Children's  Book Centre
Librarian review

Taming Horrible Harry

Horrible Harry’s job is to scare humans. One day he finds a book, sets out to learn to read it, and his life is forever changed. A charming story with delightfully ghoulish paintings.

Source: The Canadian Children’s Book Centre. Canadian Children’s Book News. 2007.

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This is a charming story about one really bad monster who learns to change his ways. Written originally in French, and illustrated with delightfully ghoulish paintings by the Québecois artist known simply as Rogé, Taming Horrible Harry is a wonderful tale about the power of stories.

At the gates of a beautiful forest, Harry the monster lies in wait. One day, as monsters are wont to do, he frightens a little girl, who runs away leaving behind a peculiar object. Harry picks it up, turns it over, bites it … spits it out, and throws it down in a fury! He wonders what kind of a thing he has found. As it turns out, the object is a book … and one way or another, Harry learns to read it, and his life is changed forever.

This delightful story will enchant both young readers and their parents, teachers, and librarians, as they discover together, the magic of reading.

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Contributor notes

Lili Chartrand trained formally as an artist, and then worked for several years in film animation. Passionate about reading, she discovered that writing children’s books allowed her to combine many of the things she loves to work with most: words, images, and color. Writing children’s books lets her enter a world that is full of magic. Lili is the author of five books, the first of which, Malédiction, farces et attrapes!, was shortlisted for the Prix Hackmatack.

Rogé knew from a very young age that he would grow up to be an artist. He knew this because he knew that he should do what he loves, and what he loves most is illustrating children’s books. Le Gros Monstre qui aimait trop lire is Rogé’s fourth book. He began his career as a graphic artist, and worked in marketing for several years. After a year in France he returned to Quebec to pursue a career as an artist. He has been one ever since.

Susan Ouriou is a Calgary-based writer, interpreter, and translator of fiction. One of her greatest pleasures is sharing with others the stories for young and old that she discovers in the original French or Spanish. She was runner-up for the John Glassco Translation Prize for The Thirteenth Summer, and a finalist for the Governor General’s Award for Translation of The Road to Chlifa. Susan lives in Calgary with her family.

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Editorial Review

Praise for Taming Horrible Harry:
“The talent and imagination the pair [Lili Chartrand and Roge] let loose are about as magical as magic gets.”
Time Out New York
“Roge’s splashy artwork includes plenty of grinning monsters with varying numbers of eyes and heads, plates and jars full of monster eyeballs, and enough monster details to beguile the picture-book crowd.”
Publisher’s Weekly
“The art is the strong point in this story that promotes literacy…. The pictures have that ghastly but humorous quality so enjoyed by children…. Sharp teeth, eyeballs, and two-headed creatures abound. Children will find Harry a delight.”
School Library Journal
“For any parent keen to make a lifelong reader of their child... a delightful story…. Children... will be captivated by the sight of the many-eyed monsters...”
The National Post

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