Harry on the Rocks

Harry on the Rocks

by Susan Meddaugh
     
 

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An afternoon boating excursion goes terribly awry when Harry drops his oars and the tide takes him and his little yellow boat out to sea. A storm washes him ashore on an island with nothing but sand and rocks and one windblown tree. Hungry, Harry hopes to eat an egg he finds amid the rocks, but after warming in the sun, the egg doesn’t cook—it hatches!

Overview


An afternoon boating excursion goes terribly awry when Harry drops his oars and the tide takes him and his little yellow boat out to sea. A storm washes him ashore on an island with nothing but sand and rocks and one windblown tree. Hungry, Harry hopes to eat an egg he finds amid the rocks, but after warming in the sun, the egg doesn’t cook—it hatches!

So instead of dinner, Harry finds a friend. But just what is the little, quickly growing, colorful, winged, and lizardlike creature? Harry’s in for more than one surprise as he discovers the true nature of the bizzard’s identity and the friendship they share.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“The attention-getting opening is just the beginning of a well–paced, cleanly wrought piece of storytelling.” The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

“Meddaugh’s newest is a William–Steg—like tale of a lonely castaway who inadvertently becomes a parent.” Kirkus Reviews

“Meddaugh, who is a master at creating satisfying endings, doesn’t disappoint here…Her economical writing ahs a natural flow and the simple pictures expertly convey the comedy, drama, and emotion of this great little story.” School Library Journal

“Meddaugh’s delivery is as droll as ever, and her tale stays on track right through to the clever twist at the end.” Publishers Weekly

“Meddaugh’s sterling sense of humor, which shone in such books as Martha Speaks, is certainly evident in both the amusing text and art.” Booklist, ALA

Publishers Weekly
With a hapless hound hero shipwrecked on a deserted island, Meddaugh (the Martha series) serves up a scenario that will leave readers anywhere but high and dry. Catching sight of an orange-colored egg, Harry unwittingly helps hatch what he at first thinks is a lizard. A day later, the dog notices that the creature has wings, like a bird: "Perhaps I have discovered a missing link," he says. "I think you are a bizzard!" Then Harry has a brainstorm: if he teaches the "bizzard" to fly, it could catch fish for dinner. A series of comical spot illustrations shows the wide-eyed, eager-to-please creature furiously flapping-and falling down. Thanks to a limited palette of greens, grays and oranges and repeated elements (e.g., the bizzard's orange stripes match Harry's orange-striped shirt), Meddaugh achieves a deceptive visual simplicity that complements the unabashedly outlandish elements of the plot. The whimsy reaches its apogee in a wordless double spread: fists clenched, the bizzard unassumingly hurls flames from its mouth, broiling a fish beneath as Harry looks on with a dropped jaw. Realizing at last that his friend is a dragon, Harry is terrified: "Harry dived under his broken boat.... Every so often he would yell: `Go away!' or `There's nobody in here!' " Meddaugh's delivery is as droll as ever, and her tale stays on track right through to the clever twist at the end. Ages 4-8. (Apr.) Copyright 2003 Cahners Business Information.
Children's Literature
Poor Harry finds himself marooned on a rocky island after a boating mishap. The egg he plans to eat hatches, instead, into a colorful lizard-like creature with wings. He teaches the rapidly growing "bizzard" to fly so he can catch fish for their food. When the creature breathes fire to cook the fish, the terrified Harry realizes it is a dragon, and runs away. It takes a terrible storm to bring the two together again. To Harry's surprise, the dragon saves him and flies him back home. Why he does this makes the satisfying conclusion. Meddaugh creates her visual story with sketchy colored drawings bordering on cartoons. Vignettes are particularly successful in producing sequences of events like the birth and growth of the dragon. Although he is an anthropomorphic dog, Harry is a fully realized character. There is emotion along with humor in this tale. 2003, Walter Lorraine/Houghton Mifflin Company,
— Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2-Another delightful fantasy from the author/illustrator of the popular "Martha" books. Harry, a friendly looking brown dog clad in jeans and an orange striped shirt, is swept out to sea and shipwrecked on a rocky island. One of the rocks looks different, though. It's an egg, which hatches a baby lizard. No, wait, make that a "bizzard" (when it sprouts wings like a bird). No, wait, he can actually cook the fish he's caught by breathing fire on it. Could he be a dragon? Yes, indeed, and when Harry realizes who he's sharing his island with, he hides in fear and sends the creature away. Soon, second thoughts creep in: "Except for the fact that he was probably going to eat me, that dragon was good company." Meddaugh, who is a master at creating satisfying endings, doesn't disappoint here, offering a rousing conclusion with a sweet little twist. Her economical writing has a natural flow, and the simple pictures expertly convey the comedy, drama, and emotion of this great little story.-Lauralyn Persson, Wilmette Public Library, IL Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
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)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780618276035
Publisher:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
04/28/2003
Pages:
32
Product dimensions:
(w) x (h) x 0.12(d)
Age Range:
4 - 7 Years

Meet the Author


Susan Meddaugh was born and raised in Montclair, New Jersey. She graduated from Wheaton College, where she studied French literature and fine arts. After working briefly with an advertising agency in New York, she moved to Boston and worked at a publishing company for ten years, first as a designer, then art editor, and finally as art director. While there, she did the illustrations for GOOD STONES (Houghton Mifflin) by Anne Epstein, and then decided to strike out on her own as a freelance illustrator and creator of children's books. Since that time, Susan has written and illustrated many popular books for children, including MARTHA SPEAKS, which was chosen as a NEW YORK TIMES Best Illustrated Book for 1992. In 1998 she was awarded the New England Book Award, given by the New England Booksellers Association to recognize a body of work. Her work also was acknowledged with a New York Times Best Illustrated Award. She lives in Sherborn, Massachusetts.

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