Harry in a Hurry
Timothy Knapman and Gemma Merino
Macmillan Children’s Books
Harry the hare is always in a frantic rush to do everything and go everywhere, so much so that he’s apt to cause chaos wherever he goes.
He makes some pretty perilous moves as he speeds around on his scooter until he suddenly finds himself hurtling through the air and into a pond.
Happily Tom Tortoise is there to fish him out, scooter and all and is even good enough to offer to mend Harry’s battered scooter.
Being a tortoise however, means that whatever Tom does, it’s at an extremely slow speed and inevitably it will be so with the task he’s kindly undertaken.
The badly bruised Harry has no choice but to wait and accept his friend’s offer of lunch.
As he does so, something strange starts to happen.
After their lunch Tom suggests a walk and more of Harry’s grumpiness dissipates as he pauses and takes notice of his surroundings.
Tom slips quietly back to finish his task, returning several hours later with the job done, to discover a decidedly more composed Harry, now mindful of his previous bad manners, and appreciative of both his friend’s efforts and the beauty all around.
Timothy’s tale, funny though it may be, has serious messages about kindness, friendship and the importance of taking time to enjoy everything that slowing down offers, not the least being good-natured interactions with others and the beauty of the natural world.
Gemma Merino’s expressive illustrations orchestrate the action brilliantly, bringing out the contrasts between the characters with gentle humour, and providing lots of amusing touches, not the least being the activities of the little mouse and other unmentioned creatures – an extra reward for those who read the book slowly.