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A Fuse #8 Production
Inside A Fuse #8 Production

Fuse 8 n’ Kate: Harry the Dirty Dog by Gene Zion, ill. Margaret Bloy Graham

HarryDirtyKate got a dog! A doggy dog of her very own. And you know what goes together well, like peaches and cream? Dogs and picture books. So I had to figure out a classic dog picture book. And lo and behold I realized that in spite of its relative fame we had never done a book about this particular dirty dirty dog. In the course of things we solve the mystery of why Harry never rolls in mud. It’s not just because tar, coal, and soot are fun to draw. They’re all black-colored ways of getting dirty! That way he never becomes brown. Meanwhile, I noticed on this most recent read that this is a VERY springtime-related book. I greatly appreciated the robins and the daffodils. Here in February, my eyes are hungry for any and all spring things.

Listen to the whole show here on Soundcloud or download it through iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play, PlayerFM, or your preferred method of podcast selection.

Show Notes:

– By gum, this is an actual address in Ontario. Right smack dab in the middle of University Gardens, if Google is to be relied upon.


– Okay, folks. We solved the mystery of why Doctor DeSoto has an open flame in his office. So riddle me this: Why are there three bombs in the street where they’re repairing potholes?


– The highly disturbing children’s book picture on Twitter that I allude to is The Great Dog Bottom Swap. Full credit to Stephanie L. for finding it. Click on it to blow it up. Or, alternate thought, don’t.


– And for that matter, why is there a lovely lady hood ornament on a dump truck?


– Palm trees in a cafe in Toronto. Odd.


– So, if a strange dog jumps into my tub, my first reaction is not going to be, “I’m going to leave my two children alone with this dog so that they can clean him.”


Here’s an obit for Margaret Bloy Graham and another article about her from WBUR.

– The book was #43 on the Top 100 Picture Books Poll.

– Curious to see the Complete Listing of All Public Children’s Literature Statues in the United States? Well here it is. And at Bookworm Gardens in Sheboygan, WI you’ll find this adorable little Harry. You can clean him. Look at that adorable guy!!


– I wasn’t wrong. The Scottish Granny did read I Need a New Bum. Here, you can watch her yourself:

– Ex Libris! A librarian board game!


About Elizabeth Bird

Elizabeth Bird is currently the Collection Development Manager of the Evanston Public Library system and a former Materials Specialist for New York Public Library. She has served on Newbery, written for Horn Book, and has done other lovely little things that she'd love to tell you about but that she's sure you'd find more interesting to hear of in person. Her opinions are her own and do not reflect those of EPL, SLJ, or any of the other acronyms you might be able to name. Follow her on Twitter: @fuseeight.


  1. If it makes you feel any better, those aren’t bombs. They are road construction flares. I know this because in one of Mattingly’s books, Beany Malone steals one and the oil leaks onto the floor of the basement rec room she is trying to redecorate. I couldn’t find many pictures online, but here is one from Etsy, in case you need your very own.

    • Thank you!!! This clarifies so very much for us. I swear, I learn far more about the applications of fire in everyday life in the past through picture books than I ever expected.

      Maybe I’ll get one for Kate for her birthday.

  2. This was a wonderful idea; Harry deserves some renewed attention. As far as the parents allowing their kids to bathe an unknown dog, isn’t it possible that they know very well that he is actually Harry?
    It’s interesting that the Times obituary praises Graham’s art for its “whimsy and delicacy.” In contrast to all the dirt and trains, there are also so many little things in these pictures: the hood ornament which you point out, the rich lady glancing at her watch in the restaurant, and the tiny car which the boy is holding by a string. The pictures are so busy, but not in a trivial way.
    Thanks for this post.

  3. Rachel J Fremmer says

    Do you know Gene Zion’s book Really Spring? Your spring comment made me think of it.

    I am now salivating over the librarian board game.

  4. *laughing so hard I cried* Loved your comment about Mama Berenstein Bear! I too could never figure out why she always wore a nightcap. If it had been a bonnet – no problem but it was a nightcap!

  5. My two year old son does not understand the premise that it was one dog all along. Hence he insists on calling this book, “Harry the Dirty Dog and Cleany the Clean Dog.”