Katie's Reviews > Harris and Me: A Summer Remembered

Harris and Me by Gary Paulsen
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's review
Aug 29, 12

bookshelves: humor, realistic-fiction, young-adult
Read from August 26 to 29, 2012

Harris and Me is an adventurous, fast-paced tale of two cousins experiencing an array of self-imposed farm drama. The main character, who is nameless, arrives at his cousin’s house on a farm to spend the summer away from his parents. Harris, the antagonist, constantly encourages and manipulates the main character to indulge in danger and mischief. Throughout the novel, the two boys devise boyish games such as fighting wars and pretending to be Indians that are executed on a diverse population of farm animals consisting of a lynx, pigs, workhorses, and a hysterical rooster. Like many young adolescent males, the duo challenge and dare one another to perform risky antics such as peeing on an electrical wire, duplicating the actions of a popular TV cowboy, and constructing a makeshift, motorized bike.

Harris and Me is packed with imagery, descriptive scenes, proper dialect and slang of the time period, and a humorous tone which allowed the story to flow easily and be believable. Gary Paulsen is not one of my favorite authors, but this book is captivating due to the humorous style and the memories it conjures. I lived on a farm with many of the same animals and always used my imagination and lack of fear to entertain myself. At times, I was reckless and overconfident and used my farm animals as cohorts for my schemes, similar to the boys in Harris and Me. This book was a pleasant reminder of events in my past.

This book would be a great addition in any classroom whether on the bookshelf, used in reading groups, or read by the entire class. If not read by an entire class, I would recommend this book to adventurous boys in grades 5th-7th, or possible 4th -8th depending on maturity and reading level. This book would also be a good read for girls who want a laugh. I would also recommend this book to a student who I knew was having trouble at home with parents because it might give him/her hope that nothing bad lasts forever. I think many students could identify with this story whether they grew up on a farm or in the city. This book would also be great for a disinterested reader. My goal for this book would be for students to have text-to-self and, possibly, a text-to-world connection. If Harris and Me were used in reading groups or read by the entire class, I would have students create reader response projects such as: picture/clipart collage of major events in the story, a picture book of the student’s favorite scenes, a “movie trailer” depicting parts of the book, a facebook page for a character, or write another chapter for the book.
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