Harold Goes to School

Philippa Rae (Author): Diego Cadena (Illustrator)
MacLaren-Cochrane Publishing, Inc. (2021)
ISBN: 9781643724560
Reviewed by Amy Lignor for Reader Views (01/2022)

I have to say, this is one book that taught me a great deal I didn’t know. This fantastic, furry monster named Harold, and his friend Billy, were written in a dyslexic inclusive font (which I did not know about). Therefore, everyone can read this great story with their kids.

Billy is a young boy who has show and tell to look forward to in his classroom one day. What’s exciting for the students is the fact that the winner of show and tell will receive a prize. Billy’s choice is to bring “monster” Harold to school with him. It surprises Billy at the beginning of the day that students don’t seem to be on the bus, and his teacher is a little “put off” by Harold. She says he can stay, but the monster will have to follow the rules, just like the students have to. So Harold learns all about these specific things: from being clean and tidy to helping others, and even not dropping litter…which is something he learns by sneezing in the classroom and scattering everyone’s art drawings all over the floor. He goes to the library to learn how to be polite, and more, but he becomes disappointed when the kids seem scared of him. You see, a monster is not something Harold knew would produce fear; he just wants to be everybody’s friend.

Now, there’s a real reason why Billy brought Harold in for show and tell, and when you and your child(ren) learn what that brave, courageous reason was, you’ll love Harold even more. And you will definitely hope the prize comes their way. But, no…I’m not going to sneak that information, or the engaging things Harold does to learn all these rules in the first place. This is an incredibly fun tale that easily teaches kids that a person is way more than what’s on the outside. Physical appearance is not when you give an A+ to someone, and when it comes to Harold, although a monster, his looks are definitely deceiving.

The illustrator on this heart-warming tale did a great job of presenting Harold and the rest of the school in a great way. The pictures are colorful, great to view, and Harold was definitely a character your kids will love to look at and will remember when the book is long over. In addition, this title is part of the Level Learner Books #3, which means it offers short, easy-to-understand words and concepts that spark a child’s mind and makes them highly eager to read books, but still need a bit of help. The author, Philippa Rae, is an award-winning writer as well as a creative writer of short stories, poetry and non-fiction, which is no surprise after viewing this tale.

Lastly, when it comes to this particular font, adults will see in the back what it’s all about. It’s specially designed by graphic designer, Christian Boer, to make it far easier to read. Traditional fonts are designed from an aesthetic standpoint, so letters can look confused or turned around, jumbled, etc., because the letters are too similar. With this, the letters are perfectly distinguished so no one will miss out on sharing certain books with their kids. And this is one, readers, you don’t want to miss out on. Great job!

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