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HARRY ON THE ROCKS by Susan Meddaugh


by Susan Meddaugh & illustrated by Susan Meddaugh

Age Range: 5 - 7

Pub Date: April 28th, 2003
ISBN: 0-618-27603-3
Publisher: Walter Lorraine/Houghton Mifflin

Meddaugh’s newest is a William Steig–like tale of a lonely castaway who inadvertently becomes a parent. Washed ashore on a remote, rocky island, Harry finds only a large egg and a windblown tree for food. Discovering that the latter’s leaves taste like “broccoli boiled in skunk cabbage oil!” he turns to the egg. Unwilling to eat it raw, he tries to bake it in the sun, whereupon it hatches into a lizard-like creature with stubby wings. Hoping to train it to catch fish for him, Harry—portrayed in the simply drawn, minimally detailed illustrations as a dog in human dress—coaches it into learning to fly, but then fearfully drives it away after it breathes fire to cook the subsequent catch. Weeks later the dragon, grown to huge size, returns in a storm to rescue Harry, fly him to the mainland, and utter its first word: “Mmmmm . . . Mmmmmm . . . MOM!’” More perceptive readers may vaguely detect some symbolism in this sketchy episode, but for tales on the theme of unlikely parentage, Lynn Reiser’s Surprise Family (1994) still sets the standard. (Picture book. 5-7)