'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Sunday 15 May 2016

Review: Harold's Hungry Eyes

There are two things in life that Harold really loves: food and his comfy chair. And while he's not at all fussy about his food — he'll eat pretty much anything — he's very fussy about his chair. It has to be one particular chair. He can lie in it on his right side, his left side, on his back with paws in the air, or with paws down. Perfect.

So imagine Harold's distress when he finds his chair missing one morning. Gone! He searches the house from top to bottom, but it's nowhere to be found. Then, glancing out the window, he spots it being thrown into a garbage truck. Harold doesn't think twice. He leaps out the window and heads off after the truck. But his little legs can't keep up and the truck is soon out of sight … and scent.

Now Harold's chair has gone. And Harold is lost. And hungry. It is a very bad day.

This is the point in the story at which I really started to identify with Harold. Those who know me well know that I'm food obsessed. I can't function properly when I'm hungry. Neither can Harold. Kevin Waldron's illustrations are simply brilliant, as he depicts hunger-crazed Harold trying to find his way home while distracted by visions of food.

A postman opens a mailbox, and inside Harold sees a roast. The back of a van opens to reveal a fully stocked fridge. A clock on the side of a skyscraper looks just like a pie. A bus is a loaf of bread. A grate in the street is a waffle. All of the foods are photographs that have been perfectly placed on the pen and acrylic illustrations — the effect is both visually striking and hilarious!

Harold eventually makes it home, but in a fitting end to this very clever book, there's one last surprise for him and us.

Title: Harold's Hungry Eyes
Author/Illustrator: Kevin Waldron
Publisher: Phaidon, $22.95 RRP
Publication Date: May 2016
Format: Hardcover with jacket
ISBN: 9780714871240
For ages: 3+
Type: Picture Book