I made a joyous discovery at the library last Friday: a brand spanking new copy of ‘No Roses for Harry’ by Gene Zion.
Because our local library only opened in July, all of the books are new, which means the children’s books aren’t yet caked with dried snot and the pages aren’t stuck together with smears of suspicious brown substances that could be Vegemite, could be chocolate, or could be something decidedly non comestible. And I heartily approve of their selection, having already borrowed ‘Dogger’, various ‘Hairy Maclary’ titles and ‘My Cat Likes to Hide in Boxes’.
I’m a big fan of ‘Harry the Dirty Dog’, and not just because it sounds a little too risqué for children’s literature but I’d forgotten the hilarity of the canine humiliation that occurs in ‘No Roses for Harry’. Behold:
So the gist of the story is that Harry receives a present from Grandma, which turns out to be a knitted sweater with really embarrassing roses all over it. Like any self-respecting male, Harry wouldn’t be seen dead in it. Except, of course, that he has no choice because he is a dog so it’s either wear the stupid sweater or get sent to the pound for attacking the children when they try to put it on him (and let’s not discuss what happens from there). Understandably, he chooses the former. People point and laugh. Cats snicker. Fellow dogs guffaw. Harry tries unsuccessfully to lose the sweater.
Happily for Harry, as he sullenly picks at a loose thread, a watching bird decides his sweater would make a perfect nest and literally takes the shirt (well, sweater) off his back. Birds are like that.
I don’t have a picture of this but the most perplexing moment in the book is when Harry shows Grandma and the children that a bird has made a nest out of the sweater. So here’s the thing: the bird unravelled the sweater into one long piece of yarn but when we see the nest, it is constructed in the exact same pattern as the sweater. Somehow, the bird has managed to arrange the one strand of yarn to recreate the yellow roses, presumably without knitting needles and in an entirely different structure. I’m sorry, but I just find that a little hard to believe. What sort of bird is this? Does it have a store on Etsy?
Anyway, if you feel like seeing some real life dog humiliation, visit Dog Shaming (also available in cat form). And in the spirit of despised sweaters, here’s a little something from Eskimo Joe.