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Harry the Dirty Dog

(Harry the Dog)

4.18  ·  Rating details ·  47,213 Ratings  ·  763 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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Jenn Griffith There are several themes to the story. 1. Cleanliness (as it is about a dog that avoids bathing by running away and getting even dirtier), 2.…moreThere are several themes to the story. 1. Cleanliness (as it is about a dog that avoids bathing by running away and getting even dirtier), 2. Perception of appearance (Harry gets so dirty that when he returns home, he is unrecognizable by his family, even despite performing his old tricks), 3. Problem-solving (Harry realizes the only way his family will recognize him is if he takes a bath), and 4. Returning home (despite having a fun day playing outside Harry ultimately returns home because he wants to return to his family and he knows that's where he belongs).(less)

Community Reviews

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Mark Lawrence
Nov 29, 2013 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
Archit Ojha
Apr 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ebooks
Pleasing little illustrations that woo your adult self to read it over and over again.

Harry, the dog, is not so fond of bathing and shoots away to the city for an adventure.
Well, as the name suggests, he gets dirty from the coal engines, the dusts and the smoke.

Gene Zion packs a good tale of the dog who faces rejection by his owners as they fail to recognize his changed guise. Is that a black dog with white spot or a white dog with black spots?

How will Harry ever get them to know!

This short stor
Mar 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
Harry was a lovely white dog who sported a few black spots. He loved life to the fullest, but could not handle baths whatsoever. After disposing of his scrubbing brush, Harry set out to explore the world on his own, a very dirty world. Playing in the dirt and rolling in coal soon turned Harry into the blackest dog ever, with only a few white spots. After missing his family, Harry decided to return home, though things were not as easy as he might have hoped! Neo has never had a pet, but he quite ...more
Dec 24, 2016 rated it liked it
This was read by Betty white I found an online YouTube channel called storytime online great children stories read by famous people I absolutely loved it especially for the little ones
Jan 21, 2015 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 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
Lisa Vegan
Jul 08, 2007 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.
Tyler Jones
Jan 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
If you don't like Harry the Dirty Dog, then I don't want to be your friend.
Benji Martin
Mar 08, 2013 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?
Sharon Barrow Wilfong
Jul 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I love the Harry books. Harry is so cute and his facial features is so expressive, really making the cartoon come alive.

Harry does not want to take a bath so he grabs the scrub brush and runs away. On his little adventure, he finds that maybe there are worse things than taking a bath.
Mar 21, 2011 rated it really liked it
Sweet, funny story about a dog who gets so dirty while playing that his own family doesn't recognize him. The illustrations now look cheerfully retro, rather than just dated, and the humor is pretty timeless (even for a cat person, like me).
Jan 16, 2014 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.
This was one of my favourite books as a kid and reading it again made me feel all warm and fuzzy.

It's about a little dog named Harry who gets so dirty his coat colour changes and his owners don't recognise him. My favourite and perhaps most beloved aspect is the illustration style -- it's super nostalgic and reminds me of old cartoons which probably adds to the nostalgia hit.

This book has all it needs to appeal to children. Dirt, a dog, and disobeying rules. What more do you need?
Jun 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: preschool-lit
One of the few books my grandparents had at their house when I was little, so I grew to love this one.
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
Zuko Cornwell
Jan 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
So delighted to see dogs these days represented how we truly are in major dramatic roles. I can't wait for more contemporary dog novels. We deserve more recognition for keeping the squirrel population at an all time minimum
Feb 19, 2008 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.
Jordyn collins
Dec 13, 2016 marked it as to-read
He dose not want to take
Mar 06, 2008 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.
Mosley Allen
Aug 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: children
I remember ready this book as a child in elementary school, well now the time has come to read this book to my child as a after school reading assignment. It's a charming classic book that every child can enjoy.
Dec 18, 2017 rated it liked it
A cute children’s book about a dog named Harry. Not one of my favourites.
Dec 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kiddo-books
Cute book. I vaguely remember the illustrations but didn’t remember the story at all from my childhood. I think it is funny that the dog gets a name but the human people are referred to in pronouns. Anyway, Betty White reads this book on YouTube, which was my entire motivation for reading this book.
Mar 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I have read this book 12 or more times this weekend. Someone under the age of two is OBSESSED. The cadence and pictures are definitely over fifty, but the story is charming and holds up after repeated readings in a short amount of time. I am miffed at Harry's family, however. How could they NOT recognize him from his amazing tricks. Dull, dull, dull.
May 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
Grandma & Grandpa's dog is named after this Harry so we just had to read it to Alistair. A dog does not want a bath and runs away but when he comes home and his family doesn't recognize him he puts himself in the bath.
Barbara Brien
Jun 10, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: childrens
I'm not sure when I read this, but I'm pretty sure I did.
Jul 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
Cute story. I've seen this book for years, but this is the first time I read it. This must be a favorite among young readers.
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
Kristen Eckhardt
Jun 29, 2015 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
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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

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