So, I want you to read this book but I don’t want to give anything away so please bear with me as I try to be vague but also tell you of the joys of this short, children’s book. I really like Gary Paulsen and read through a few of his books growing up. However, Harris and Me is one of the first books, not just of Paulsen’s, but of any book I’ve read, where I couldn’t put it down. I think someone loaned me their copy of this, which they’d gotten on loan from our tiny, local library and I read it in one or two evenings.
It’s a children’s book but one that any old grown-up would love too. There is humor, friendship, and a bit of growing up in the book that should make it a loved read to almost anyone. The basic premise is the narrator, which many believe to be Paulsen, goes to live with some relatives for the summer and is roped to Harris.
Harris is constantly on-the-go and the book is nothing more than a series of funny circumstances on the family farm. However, it’s a touching story about two friends and their simple life, friendship, and the sense of belonging that comes from a welcoming family.
There are plenty of zany circumstances and characters, but it’s all the more entertaining when thinking these events could either be true or possess a heavy kernel of truth in the light they could be memories from Paulen’s youth. Also, this is a really quick read, fast moving, so it’s not something that’s full of deep themes and character growth but it’s nonetheless a fantastic little book that parents could read to their children, or readers in either group would likely find this to be a fun book.
This is a different read than some of Paulsen’s other books, like The Hatchet, but it’s simply fun. I have found myself reading it every few years or so and think it’s a great study in how to write a simple vignette-style children’s book that also shows some important things like family, friendship, and growing up.