Author: Dick King-Smith
Publisher: Knopf, 1997
Dick King-Smith is probably best known for his work Babe: The Gallant Pig, which was made into a major motion picture. Harry's Mad may be an even better book. It received several awards, including an ALA Notable Children's Book award, and a Parent's Choice Award for Literature. Harry's Mad will appeal to children aged 7- to 12-years old. Younger children will also enjoy it as a read-aloud. With short chapters and less than 130 pages, Harry's Mad is an ideal pool-side or bedtime read.
Harry's Mad begins when 10-year-old Harry Holdsworth, who lives in London, inherits Madison, an African gray parrot from his great-uncle George. George lived in America, so Harry has never met him. When he finds out that he is to receive something from his uncle's will, Harry is sure that it will be a large sum of money. Imagine his disappointment when a parrot arrives in a large shipping crate! But Harry soon learns that this is not an ordinary parrot. Madison has many special talents. He talks, thinks, and plays games of all kinds. Should Harry tell anyone about Madison's talents, or keep it to himself? What happens when a silver-seeking robber in Harry's home stuffs the parrot into his bag to shut him up? Read Harry's Mad and enjoy the whole adventure!
Here are some questions to jumpstart your discussion of Harry's Mad
- Mad has many qualities that make him special to Harry. What are your pet's best qualities? Would you like it if your pet had the same qualities as Mad? If your pet had special talents like Mad, would you keep it a secret, or tell your friends? Do you agree with the Holdsworths' decision not to let others know that Mad could talk?
- How did you feel when Harry's father bought a replacement for Madison? Could anything replace your pet?
- How do you think Claude Clutterbuck feels when Madison leaves him?
- Do you think that Harry's relationship with Mad changes after Mad becomes a dad? How?
- Do you like the ending of the book? Would you have written the part about Madison's returning to the Holdsworth's differently?