Harris and Me by Gary Paulsen
When I first read Harris and Me, I had it along with me on a family trip with my husband and parents. I ended up reading entire portions of it aloud to a room of adults who all hooted and laughed and begged for me to continue. Then when my older son was around the right age, I read it aloud to him. He loved it. This week, I finished reading it aloud to my younger son, who loves to be read to but doesn’t care to read to himself much. He asked for his own copy so he could read it whenever he liked.
Some lines from the book have entered our vocabulary in our family. If I get grumpy, my husband (far too often) says “Now, Buzzer…” Whenever a little car revs past our house, I say “the engine starved for oxygen its entire life.” And perhaps even worse, we all get the joke and laugh, immediately thinking of the scenes from Harris and Me.
Paulsen has created a book that is so funny. It reads aloud like a dream, and having read it aloud cover-to-cover at least 3 times by now, I should know. The humor is often naughty, involving things like peeing on an electric fence, being kicked in the groin by a cow, and attempting to kill a very evil rooster. At the same time, it is belly-laugh funny, quoting lines great, and will linger with you after you finish it.
And the ending, well. Let’s just say it’s the most challenging part to read aloud because no matter how many times I read it, I will always cry.
So if you are looking for a book to hook a kid with its humor, with its inappropriateness, with its pure appeal, look no further! This one is a winner with every person I have ever shared it with. It’s a definite family favorite for three generations of our family.