Oh, Harry!


Harry isn't the most handsome or graceful horse in the barn, but he has a knack for calming even the most excitable filly. All's well until the arrival of six-year-old Algernon Adams the Third—a boy with a talent for mayhem. When Algernon finds himself in a pinch, will reliably helpful Harry come to his rescue or go back to sleep and let the little terror figure his own way out of a sticky situation?

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Harry isn't the most handsome or graceful horse in the barn, but he has a knack for calming even the most excitable filly. All's well until the arrival of six-year-old Algernon Adams the Third—a boy with a talent for mayhem. When Algernon finds himself in a pinch, will reliably helpful Harry come to his rescue or go back to sleep and let the little terror figure his own way out of a sticky situation?

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Harry the horse is not a looker ("His ears were long and his neck was short"), he's mischievous and dexterous, and he has a knack for calming the show horses that share the barn with him. All runs smoothly until Algernon Adams the Third, "at the age of six,/ Arrived with his bag of horrendous tricks." The boy sasses the trainer and spooks the horses before getting himself trapped in a grain bin, which Harry (eventually) unlocks, bringing about a turnaround in Algernon's behavior. Mixing naturalism, anthropomorphism, and slapstick comedy, this story, like Harry, is a bit unusual itself. Kumin's (Mites to Mastodons) verse has a variable cadence, and in places the language seems forced for the sake of the rhyme ("He climbed to the hayloft with an umbrella/ Till the trainer ordered, ‘Get down young fella!' "). Moser's (Once Upon a Twice) watercolors imbue Harry with plenty of attitude, playing up his homeliness in unflattering "camera" angles, and even having him pull faces for readers, to garish but humorous effect—when Harry "smile a smile" after Algernon gets trapped, it ain't pretty. Ages 4–8. (June)
From the Publisher
“Agreeably old-fashioned.” The New York Times Book Review
Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
Kumin's carefully crafted rhymes tell the story of Harry the horse. Harry is homely and easy-going. His special talent is quieting and calming nervous horses when they arrive at the farm. But dealing with six-year-old Algernon is a challenge. The wild youngster stirs up trouble everywhere. But one day when Algernon climbs into the grain bin, it snaps shut and locks him in. After letting him yell for a while, Harry uses his special talent to open the bin and lift Algernon out, giving him a shake on the way as a lesson. The next day, everyone is amazed at how calm and polite Algernon has become. Of course Harry knows why. Moser depicts the two main characters naturalistically in watercolors. On the jacket and cover sassy Algernon sticks out his tongue at a smiling, slyly expressive Harry. Double-page scenes fill the action with details of the barn and, for added interest, a dog and cat, but the focus of the tale is on the horses. The pages clearly show Harry's "calm and knowing" behavior with the other horses as well as Algernon. The final portrait of Harry is particularly humorous. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
PreS-K—Kumin imagines a jocular tale about a horse named Harry with the unusual ability to calm his fellow equines in their horse-show barn. When six-year-old Algernon Adams III arrives with a nasty attitude and a barrel of unruly tricks, he puts the whole stable in an uproar. However, the boy gets his comeuppance when one of his daily pranks backfires and he ends up locked in the grain bin. How Harry saves the day and makes a lifelong friend of Algie provides fodder for Kumin's agile pen. Told with a sure sense of rhyme and an intoxicating beat, the story allows plenty of space for Moser's captivating illustrations, which joyfully depict the horses in ways both amusing and physically pleasing. Furthermore, Harry always appears in a bright green bridle, cleverly diffusing any chance to confuse him with his barn mates. With a dust jacket featuring Harry and Algie in a face-off, this book is an irresistible delight!—Barbara Elleman, Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, Amherst, MA
Kirkus Reviews

Combine a Pulitzer Prize–winning poet with a National Book Award–winning artist and, honestly, it's hard to go wrong.

Among the elegant equines at Adams & Son, Harry the Horse stands out—not for his admitted homeliness and lack of show-ring liveliness, but for his ability to soothe and befriendeach and everyrestlessnew horse in the barn.Enter a high-strung human child.Has Harry met his match? Kumin knows horses—she breeds them—and her affection for them comes through clearly.Her jaunty couplets beg to be read out loud, though a few—"But before he set Algie down again / Harry shook him to dust off the grain"—strain just a bit under the rhyme scheme. As he did in The Tale of Funny Cide (written by The Funny Cide Team, 2006) and Our Cats Nick and Nora (written by Isabelle Harper, 1995), Moser uses vibrant watercolors from multiple perspectives against dramatic white backgrounds to convey animal personality and movement in an uncluttered way. His Harry grins and rollshiseyes in ways that, like the text, are fanciful but grounded in reality.Harry the Horse emerges as a full personality, and if the same can't be said for young Algernon, that's a small quibble.

Good fun for the preschool set and slightly beyond. (Picture book. 3-7)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781596434394
  • Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
  • Publication date: 6/21/2011
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 969,448
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.70 (w) x 11.10 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Maxine Kumin is an American poet whose career has spanned over half a century. She has been the recipient of prestigious awards such as the Pulitzer Prize, the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize, and an American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters Award. She and her husband breed horses on their New Hampshire farm.


Barry Moser is a National Book Award-winning artist and the illustrator of more than two hundred picture books for adults and children, including Howard Mansfield's Hogwood Steps Out, published by Roaring Brook Press. His works have been on display in such auspicious places as the British Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art , and the National Gallery of Art. He lives in Massachussetts.

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  • Posted November 13, 2011

    Loved it!

    My son loves this book so much. But, we would love it more on the Nook, in the read to me section! Please considered. This book is amazing. Written well, reads fast, and is just great with the pictures. My son wanted me to read it to him every night for almost 5 months.

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