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Harvey

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Overview


Harvey and his little brother, who is a lot taller than he is, are normal boys playing in the slushy streets of early spring when they suddenly learn that their father has died of a heart attack. Everything changes, and Harvey’s favorite movie, The Incredible Shrinking Man, suddenly begins to dominate his fantasy life. When relatives try to get him to look at his father in his coffin, he finds himself disappearing. Brilliantly illustrated, emotionally true, and devastatingly sad, this book is an artful and ...
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Overview


Harvey and his little brother, who is a lot taller than he is, are normal boys playing in the slushy streets of early spring when they suddenly learn that their father has died of a heart attack. Everything changes, and Harvey’s favorite movie, The Incredible Shrinking Man, suddenly begins to dominate his fantasy life. When relatives try to get him to look at his father in his coffin, he finds himself disappearing. Brilliantly illustrated, emotionally true, and devastatingly sad, this book is an artful and utterly convincing look at the experience of extreme emotional trauma.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In this challenging graphic novel, Bouchard's first book for children (which won Governor General's awards for both text and illustration in 2009), narrator Harvey promises to tell readers about "the time when I became invisible." An early spring day is forever changed when Harvey and his brother arrive home, just as their father is being wheeled into an ambulance, dead of a heart attack. In somber shades of mauve, teal, and charcoal, Nadeau's delicate, smudgy spot art and full-bleed scenes create a stark world for Harvey's plainspoken observations. Heartbreaking imagery abounds: after gawkers disperse, the silhouette of the family's home suggests a gemstone, white-hot under pressure; Harvey's mother curls up alone. Because of his small stature, Harvey can't see into his father's coffin, and he mulls conflicting images of his father based on mourners' comments ("aybe the way to see for real is to listen to all of them"). When an uncle lifts him up for a better view, Harvey disappears--like many might wish they could in such a situation. Reality becomes concrete, he becomes insubstantial, and the book ends (though Harvey may reappear in a sequel). Ages 10–up. (Oct.)
Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
Young Harvey shares his thoughts and emotions beginning on an ordinary spring day when he, his brother Cantin, and other kids on his street race their toothpicks down to the drain in the water flowing in the gutter. Afterward, Harvey and Cantin arrive home to find their father has suddenly died from a heart attack and their mother is distraught. In bed that night, Harvey reviews in his mind the story of Scott Carey, the shrinking man who is an important character for him. He faces the difficult days at the funeral parlor and the funeral itself. It is when his Uncle Raymond lifts him above the crowd as the coffin is closed that Harvey mysteriously disappears. A sequel is imperative. Nadeau emphasizes a surreal quality in drawings, done mainly in shades of black and brown, which almost never fill a page. Six initial textless double pages gradually construct Harvey's town and introduce him on his bicycle in eerie stillness. The family and townspeople are drawn naturalistically, but sometimes, as in the Scott Carey story, are represented only as shadows. Hand produced calligraphy adds personality to this lengthy, intriguing graphic novel. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
VOYA - Erin Wyatt
Harvey tells his story as a series of events, including the sudden death of his father from a heart attack. Harvey and his younger (though larger) brother, Cantin, try to navigate the aftermath of the loss of their father. Translated from the original French, the text is in a hand-written font, and illustrations comprise a significant part of the book and story. The book concludes with the closing of the casket and the revelation by Harvey that he has become invisible, which occurs at the same moment he finally sees the dead body of his father for the first time. Many of the images are poignant, particularly the spread of pages of his mother after the body of her husband has been taken away in an ambulance. The pages go from being full of people until gradually there is just his mother sad and alone. Harvey is a quirky character doing his best to decode the world around him. Possessing an active imagination, he relates a variety of anecdotes, including a toothpick boat race on a river of melted snow in the street and the adventures of a dot he refers to as Scott Carey, named after a shrinking man from a movie, who appears multiple times in the narrative. A cold, lonely mood permeates the book, from the pictures to the plot. While the book is a quick read, it is worth several looks to absorb the illustrations and ponder how the pieces fit together. Reviewer: Erin Wyatt
School Library Journal
Gr 3–6—Harvey feels invisible. No one ever really notices him. His younger, taller brother is the one who stands out. Harvey spends most his days racing toothpicks along street corners against the neighborhood children. When he comes home one day to find that his father has died of a heart attack, he discovers that he is the one person who can help his brother understand their family's tragedy. Harvey's first-person perspective captures the grief and innocence of a child's greatest loss. The muted watercolor-inspired style is dark and sad, emotionally appropriate without being too over the top. Many pages are without text. For example, when the crowd outside Harvey's house slowly scatters after the ambulance departs, several pages are devoted to showing his mother standing outside their home alone. While the overall melancholy feel of this title might leave many children depressed, it is a great graphic novel to give to a younger child trying to understand the pain of bereavement.—Ryan Donovan, New York Public Library
Kirkus Reviews

A sparse, evocative look at a father's death. Young Harvey lives in a simple time in which friends race toothpicks down gushing gutters, anxiously running alongside to see whose wins. On one of these idyllic spring days, Harvey comes home to find that his father has suffered a fatal heart attack. In the wake of the death and subsequent memorial service, he feels himself slipping away, into what he calls "invisibility." The narrative gently fades out, as does Harvey's presence. Harvey's child's-eye perspective is flawlessly conveyed in both naïve-looking drawings, artfully composed, and direct, present-tense narration alert to detail and rendered in blocky hand printing. His grief and confusion is painfully clear in the smudged, muted colors and heavy use of white space. Eschewing boxy panels, this lyrical elegy glides along seamlessly, languishing over each space. The original, French edition won Canada's Governor General's Awards for both text and illustration. Pensive, with hushed, desolate notes, this is best suited for thoughtful readers, both YA and adult, who are ready for a quiet literary examination of loss. (Graphic memoir. 12 & up)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781554980758
  • Publisher: Groundwood Books
  • Publication date: 10/1/2010
  • Pages: 168
  • Age range: 10 years
  • Lexile: 730L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 8.10 (h) x 0.80 (d)

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