Monday, July 15, 2019

Review - Harry's Lovely Spring Day

Harry's Lovely Spring Day (Harry the Happy Mouse #1)
by N. G. K.
illustrated by Janelle Dimmett
Date: 2014
Publisher: N. G. K.
Reading level: C
Book type: picture book
Pages: 34
Format: e-book

Book 1 in the bestselling 'Harry The Happy Mouse' series. 32 pages of illustrations by award winning illustrator Janelle Dimmett. Harry's Lovely Spring day follows Harry the mouse as he learns the value of kindness, and that one small thing to someone could mean something huge to someone else! Teaching children the value of kindness.

(synopsis from Goodreads)

The only way I can see that this would be a bestseller is because dupes like me bought it, swayed by all the glowing reviews. And where are those reviews coming from? I have no idea. They're either dishonest, paid reviews... or people are not very discerning.

This is just a trainwreck from start to finish. The book starts and ends with a couplet that I think is supposed to rhyme, but doesn't. The words don't even make much sense:

On the crest of a wave and the wisp of the wind,
Harry the Happy Mouse is thinking good things.

From there, the reader is treated to an abysmal display of punctuation and grammar. Where clauses should be joined with a comma, they're turned into sentence fragments. Full sentences are spliced together with commas. And the dialogue is a mess. The author always follows the dialogue tag with a comma, even if there's a new sentence starting (and there almost always is).

The story itself hits you over the head. Harry's cardboard-box house blows away, so a kind mouse named Katie gives him her umbrella and raincoat. Harry is so touched by this gesture that he stalks Katie into the countryside, where he encounters a number of talking animals, and eventually finds her. Then they get married. We're told explicitly that doing good things for others makes us feel good. I don't disagree... but there has to be a more subtle way of getting the message across. Harry feels so warm and fuzzy toward Katie and her generosity that he proposes. I'm not sure I agree with that message. Clumped up together with the kindness message, it might be mistaken for something a little less innocent. Do you owe a person sex because they bought you dinner? That sort of thing. I don't think the whole marriage thing even needed to be included here.

The illustrations, at first glance, are sort of cute. But then they get scarily, hilariously bad. The perspective is horrendous! When we meet Harry, he's sitting on a rock beside his "home". He lives in a cardboard box which, judging by the size of things around it, appears to be around the size of a dishwasher. And Harry's drawn so big it looks like that box would be a tight squeeze! But, wait... Then he meets Katie, who appears to be around the same size as him. Her raincoat fits him, anyway. But Katie's so small that she returns to the country riding on the bumper of the bus (and looking about the size of a cat; in fact, she is sitting next to a cat)! Harry goes in search of Katie, and the perspective gets even weirder. On a train, he fills up a third of the open boxcar door. On a car, he's small enough to sit on the side mirror. On a bike, he's tucked in just above the pedals. When he gets to the country, he's only slightly taller than the daisies... until he meets a cow. His head comes up past the cow's shoulders! What is going on here? Is Harry drinking and eating magic refreshments straight out of Wonderland?

I'm sorry I bought this one. It was cheap, but that's beside the point. Now I've contributed to this thing being a "bestseller". It doesn't deserve the connotations that label brings with it. Harry's Lovely Spring Day is shoddily constructed and too cheesy to be a good children's book. But I guess it must have its fans (or, at least, people who've been happy to leave glowing reviews for whatever reason).

Premise: 2/5
Meter: 2/5
Writing: 1/5
Illustrations: 1/5
Originality: 1/5

Enjoyment: 0/5

Overall: 1 out of 5

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