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Harry the Dirty Dog (Harry the Dog)

4.16  ·  Rating Details  ·  41,700 Ratings  ·  560 Reviews
There's never been another dog as delightful–or dirty–as Harry.

This lovable white dog with black spots (or black dog with white spots) has charmed children for fifty years, and we are celebrating with an anniversary edition. This childhood favourite is perfect for reading aloud before going to bed or avoiding a bath.
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published January 24th 2006 by HarperCollins (first published 1956)
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Bookworm It has been a long time since I have read this, but I will try to answer. The books is about a dog named Harry. He runs away when his owners get mad…moreIt has been a long time since I have read this, but I will try to answer. The books is about a dog named Harry. He runs away when his owners get mad at him, and has adventures in the city. When he decides to go home, he is so dirty that his owners do not recognize him! Hope this helped!(less)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Mark Lawrence
Mar 20, 2016 Mark Lawrence rated it it was amazing
Gene Zion cunningly disguised one of the great existential questions of our age in this Dirty Harry book.

make my day

Do you feel lucky?

This is a book about identity:

Am I white (with black spots)
or black (with white spots)

About change and transition:

Do I have to remain how I was born. Can I not re-imagine myself. If I identify as a black dog with white spots (or by extension the ying to any yang be it gender, sexuality, or some more esoteric quality) can I not change? Can the leopard (or Scotty dog) change
Jan 21, 2015 Rossy rated it really liked it
Shelves: children-s
What a cute little face Harry has <3
Michelle Knudsen
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Andrea Blythe
Jan 07, 2013 Andrea Blythe rated it it was amazing
My review: Harry is a white dog with black spots, who hates taking baths. So one day, he steals the bath brush and buries it in the yard and runs away from home. Along the way he gets very dirty.

I remember reading this book as a kid. I loved it then and I loved it now. It's a fun book of innocent mischief and great illustrations that clearly reveal how much fun Harry has getting dirty.

I'm going to have to buy No Roses for Harry for my niece, because I remember loving that one, too. It was anot
Tyler Jones
Jan 26, 2013 Tyler Jones rated it it was amazing
If you don't like Harry the Dirty Dog, then I don't want to be your friend.
Jan 16, 2014 ↜ƈɦǟռ☂ɛℓℓɛ↝ rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Yes
Shelves: y-childrens
Harry the Dirty Dog by Gene Zion

Cute story about a playful puppy who doesn't want a bath, but in the end is happy to be squeaky clean. My 9yo daughter loved this book.
Lisa Vegan
Aug 13, 2007 Lisa Vegan rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: all young children & those young at heart, epecially dog lovers and those who hate baths :-)
I adored this book as a young child. It’s written for very young children, but I still enjoy it as an adult. It’s a very clever story and told with a lot of humor and warmth. I like all the Harry The Dirty Dog books but this one was the first I read and it remains my favorite. It holds up completely over time – a genuine classic.
Megan Boomgarden
This book is great for young children because it is filled with ideas that children can relate to- the main character is a dog, the idea of not wanting to take a bath, and the comfort and love of a family. I think this book is also good because it hints slightly, without being "in your face blunt" at racial issues. It shows that just because Harry changed his appearance from a white dog to a black dog, doesnt mean that Harry himself actually changed. He was still the same dog, capable of doing t ...more
Kristen Eckhardt
Jul 02, 2015 Kristen Eckhardt rated it it was amazing
Category/Genre: Picture Book
Age Level: PreK-3rd Grade
Reading Level: Lexile 700; FP J

This delightful story will charm young audiences as Harry the dog changes from “ a white dog with black spots” to a “black dog with white spots” and back again during an adventurous day about town. When Harry’s family finally discovers who the “strange dog” is after giving him a bath, all is well in their cozy household at the end of the book. Young readers will rejoice in the warmth and fun of the story come ful
Feb 19, 2008 Jennifer rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Jennifer by: my mom?
gotta be the best book i've ever read. hands down. i was recently given a paperback copy for my 26th birthday. i miss all my crayon marks in the old one, but was never ever to recover the original.
Mar 06, 2008 Suzanne rated it it was amazing
Read this as a child and almost know it by heart. For every child (who hates baths) and every dog owner whose dog hates baths. A true classic and a must for every childhood library.
Benji Martin
Mar 07, 2015 Benji Martin rated it really liked it
I've always wondered... does the family really not recognize Harry, or are they just pretending they don't so that he'll take a bath?
Caitlin W.
I watched Betty White read this story online at

Harry is a dog that just hates baths! When he hears his family running the bath, he takes his brush, digs a hole in the back yard, buries it, and runs away. He plays in the dirtiest places he can find until he turns from a white dog with black spots into a black dog with white spots. Then he's all tuckered out and wants to go back home, but his family doesn't recognize him. He tries doing all his old tricks, but it's no us
Harry is a white dog with black spots. Harry hated getting baths so he hid his scrub brush and ran out to play. He plays at a construction site, on the railroad, with some other dogs. Harry got so dirty his white and black spotted fur changed to black fur with white spots. After a while of playing, Harry felt hungry and went home. However when he got home his family did not recognize him. He did lots of tricks but they still did not recognize him. Therefore, Harry ran to the garden, dug
Hannah Delaughter
This short children's book was about a dog named Harry that didn't like to take bath's. One day he had gotten really dirty and his family didn't recognize him at all. Harry tried to do all of his tricks for them, but they were not convinced that it was Harry. At the very end of the book Harry finally rushed up the the bathroom in their house and jumped in the bathtub and they finally realized that it was Harry! The illustrations in this book make it very known that this book is somewhat of an o ...more
Jan 30, 2012 Brigette rated it liked it
Harry the Dirty Dog’s cover made me think that this was going to be a story reminiscent of The Prince and the Pauper. It shows a picture with two dogs facing each other, one white with black spots and the other black with white spots. I was wrong. This is actually two pictures of the same dog before and after his adventures in avoiding a bath.
The illustrator used many techniques to demonstrate different scenes that Harry encountered throughout his journey. A few pages are have full-bleed illustr
Susan Riegger
Sep 06, 2012 Susan Riegger rated it it was amazing
Harry the Dirty Dog is a book that should be read to two year olds to four year olds. This story is a picturebook and the illustrations definitely help tell the story of Harry. Harry, the dog does not like to take a bath and when he hears the bath water running he assumes it is for him and runs away before they can out him in the tub. On his journey he goes from a white dog with spots to a black dog with white spots and when he returns home his family no longer recognizes him until he jumps int ...more
Mar 29, 2010 Teeny rated it liked it
Summary: "Harry was a white dog with black spots who liked everything, except getting a bath." Taking matters into his own paws, he buries his family's scrubbing brush in the backyard and runs away from home before they can wrangle him into the tub. Harry gets dirty playing in the street, dirtier at the railroad, and dirtier still playing tag with the other dogs. When sliding down the coal chute, he actually changes from a white dog with black spots to a black dog with white spots! Of course, by ...more
Kiera Burnett
Summary and Critique:
One day, Harry the dog decides to boycott his baths and so he hides his bath scrubber and goes out and gets so dirty that when he comes home, his owners no longer recognize him. Harry tries all sorts of tricks in an attempt to get his family to recognize him, but nothing works until he goes out to find the bath scrubber and insists on a bath. This story was originally published in black and white, but when it was remade in 2002, the illustrations were made in color.

Riona Daly
May 05, 2013 Riona Daly rated it really liked it
This book introduces a white dog with black spots who does not taking baths. He digs a hole in the garden where he buries his wash brush. Then he begins roaming the streets and getting covered in dirt. When he went through a coal shoot, he became unrecognizable, changing to a black dog with white spots.

By the closing of this story, when he returns to his house, his family think he is a strange dog visiting. He began to do his usual tricks to let them know it was him. He came up with the idea of
Feb 07, 2015 Sonia rated it really liked it
Shelves: tutoring-books
This is a cute book. It about a dog who likes to get dirty and never take a shower. He hid his brush. He turned from white to black spots to black with white spots. His family acted like they don't recognize him and then he gave up and submitted to a shower. This was a better book to read since one of my students don't like to shower. Lol, it was fun looking at his face while reading this.
Chrissy Muller
Sep 25, 2011 Chrissy Muller rated it it was amazing
This book reenforces the idea of "appreciate what you have". Harry didn't like baths, so one day, he buried the scrub brush and went around town and got very very dirty in retaliation. At the end of his fun day, Harry returned home, where his family didn't recognize him. This made Harry very sad, and he realized that he would do whatever it took in order for them to take him back. In this case, what he needed to do was to take a bath. Hopefully this story would teach my students to listen to the ...more
Jul 02, 2010 Jessi rated it liked it
This book has very enjoyable graphics, and it draws the reader in with the simple, non-repetitive story of a dog who left home wanting to avoid a bath. It has the feel of a story being told at a grandparent’s knee – engaging and yet uncomplicated.

This could be used to discuss or write about things that children do not like to do but know they need to do. There could be a discussion about the behavior of dogs or pets in general.

The pictures are very comical and entertaining. The cute little face
May 20, 2011 Eileen added it
Recommends it for: Crap Parents
Shelves: kids
This is another book that I love mostly because I remember it from my own childhood, and since senility (or early-onset-Alzheimer's) has taken most of my memories away, I love the ones I have retained.

I don't think it's a good book for kids at all, unless you've already taught your child that running away is a solution to anything. If you're a crap parent and your child threatens to run away anytime he/she doesn't want to do something and you don't know what to do because you have no authority,
May 15, 2010 Alisha rated it it was amazing
Shelves: eng-353
Harry the Dirty Dog, written by Gene Zion, is the story of Harry, a white dog with black spots, who loves everything except getting a bath. To avoid getting a bath he takes the scrub brush and buries it. Once he buries is, he then runs away from home. During his adventures he gets so dirty that he becomes a black dog with white spots. He gets tired and hungry, so he runs home. Once home, his family doesn’t recognize him and he digs up the scrub brush, runs upstairs and jumps into the bathtub. Th ...more
Sep 11, 2011 Patricia rated it really liked it
Harry the Dirty Dog has a lot of interesting elements to start it seems like they used water based colors and the lines give it a sense of feeling and motion. The water colors have a suitableness that i think is useful when the book includes a family. The elements in this book i think are the color palette used which are greens and oranges for the trees and wood objects. The background is white and some of the pages have run on pages which helps you create a story of your own before you read the ...more
Nov 22, 2014 Bethany rated it it was amazing
I can't believe HARRY THE DIRTY DOG is almost 60 years old! I loved it as a kid and it's still relevant. Harry learns his lesson the best way: on his own. The only giveaway to the book's age is the styling of the nuclear family!
Jennifer Kim
This is a cute story about a dog named Harry who hated to get bathed. So one day he decided to escape a bath and instead went through a series of activities that got him very dirty. Soon his clean white fur had become black and dirty. Harry's joy is short lived however when his family do not recognize him. Harry misses his family, their love, and how they used to play with him. So, he ends up getting clean and learning that taking a bath is not the worst thing in the world. I would definitely re ...more
Sep 29, 2012 Megan rated it it was amazing
This book is so cute! Harry is a little white dog with black spots who hates baths so much he runs away from home and gets all dirty and now appears black with white spots. When he comes back, he finds his family searching for him. They don't recognize him now that he is black with white spots, so he tries to convince them he's Harry by doing little tricks, but they still don't believe it. He then begs for a bath and his true color comes back. The character of Harry relates directly (in my opini ...more
Mar 06, 2009 Kat rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I bought this board book at a discount store last year, not having read it previously although I was familiar with the book. Harry is a lovable dog who hates baths, so he runs away and gets really dirty. When he returns home, his family doesn't recognize him because his coat has 'changed colors', so to speak. It isn't until they give him a bath that they realize he really is their beloved Harry.

The best thing about this book is the wonderful artwork. Margaret Bloy Graham has a talent for portray
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MCC Children's Li...: Harry the Dirty Dog- Challice 1 1 Apr 17, 2012 05:25PM  
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Born on October 5, in 1913, Gene Zion attended the New School of Social Research and the Pratt Institute. In 1948, he married artist Margaret Bloy Graham, who then collaborated with him on all his picture books. When their marriage ended in 1968, Zion also ended his career as an author. Zion is best known for his creation of the rascally dog, Harry, who appears in such books as HARRY THE DIRTY DOG ...more
More about Gene Zion...

Other Books in the Series

Harry the Dog (4 books)
  • No Roses for Harry!
  • Harry and the Lady Next Door
  • Harry by the Sea

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