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Harold Finds a Voice


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"Harold was a gifted bird," writes Dicmas about the flashy red parrot that stars in her debut children's book. "He could hear any sound just once and copy it perfectly." In the Parisian apartment Harold occupies with his owner, that means mimicking the "burble burble burble burble" of the percolator, the "gooooaal!" of a TV sportscaster, and the "whooosh whooosh whooosh" of the washing machine. Harold wants more, though, so one morning he ventures into the city, where he discovers an array of unfamiliar noises, some new avian friends, and-most importantly-a sound that's all his own. Dicmas gives Harold plenty of spotlight-hogging star power, whether he's waggling his eyebrows at readers, closing his eyes in contentment as he takes in a bass violin solo, or flashing his plumage, which is painted in thick smudges of green, blue, yellow, and scarlet. The sense of setting is on the light side-in a particularly nice scene, Harold stares at the Eiffel Tower from a quiet, lavender room in his apartment-but Dicmas's airy visuals keep the story and its message buoyant. Ages 3-8. (July) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

PreS-Gr 2-A talented, colorful parrot mimics the sounds around his apartment. From the ring of the alarm clock to the whoosh of the washing machine, he soon grows tired of repeating the same noises and wonders what his own voice sounds like. One morning, he flies out of the window and into the vast world, where he discovers enchanting tones deep in the heart of the Paris metropolis. They range in size from the deep rumbles of a ship to melancholy notes of a cello. Readers will rejoice when Harold finally finds his voice ("Rawk!") and gains flocks of new friends, along with a new self-awareness and confidence. In the end, he still enjoys partaking in his apartment's din, but his own squawk makes him the happiest of all. Dicmas's debut has beautiful, bright, and vivid childlike illustrations. Scenes of the city streets and skylines are scattered throughout, while Harold's owner-a little girl in a striped sweater-blends vaguely into the surroundings. Storytellers will enjoy acting out the noises and children will giggle at Harold's kooky expressions and poses. Perfect for storytimes.-Krista Welz, The North Bergen Public Library, NJ (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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