Harry the Dirty Dog

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Harry the Dirty Dog
First edition
AuthorGene Zion
IllustratorMargaret Bloy Graham
LanguageEnglish, Spanish
GenreChildren's literature
PublisherHarper & Brothers
Publication date

Harry the Dirty Dog is a beloved children's book written by Gene Zion and illustrated by Margaret Bloy Graham. Originally published in black and white in 1956, it was reprinted in 2002 with splashes of color added by the original artist. Based on a 2007 online poll, the National Education Association listed the book as one of its "Teachers' Top 100 Books for Children."[1]


Harry is a family dog with white fur and black spots who, disenchanted with taking baths, buries the bathtub scrubber and runs away from home. Harry becomes very dirty after playing in the streets, at the railroad, and in the dog park to the extent that, covered in dirt, he becomes a black dog with white spots. When he returns home, Harry's family does not recognize him. His attempts to get his family to realize that it is him succeed only when he digs up the brush that he had earlier buried. The family collectively gives the strange dog a bath, ultimately recognizing it to be Harry. Soon after, however, Harry hides the scrubbing brush under his bed.


Harry the Dirty Dog received positive reviews.[2] Kirkus Reviews called it "Another funnybone tickling charmer".[3] Kids' Book Review said, "Its timeless storyline, humour and sheer affection between the characters make the series an absolute delight for all ages."[4] Common Sense Media commented, "Expressive illustrations with old-fashioned charm."[5] The book continues to be held in thousands of libraries worldwide.[6]

In popular culture[edit]

  • A live action film adaptation of the book was produced and released in 1987.
  • The book is read in the Barney & Friends episode "Our Furry Feathered Fishy Friends".
  • Weston Woods Studios produced an adaptation of the book.
  • An official musical adaptation of the book was written and produced by ArtsPower National Touring Theatre.
  • Betty White, representing the Screen Actor's Guild (SAG), reads the book in a StorylineOnline YouTube video published May 21, 2012. It has received about 8 million views as of 2020.[7]


  1. ^ National Education Association (2007). "Teachers' Top 100 Books for Children". Archived from the original on July 30, 2013. Retrieved August 19, 2012.
  2. ^ "Margaret Bloy Graham, 'Harry the Dirty Dog' Illustrator, Dies at 94". New York Times. 28 January 2015. Retrieved 19 June 2015.
  3. ^ "Harry the Dirty Dog". www.kirkusreviews.com. Kirkus Media LLC. Retrieved 14 June 2015.
  4. ^ "Review: Harry the Dirty Dog". www.kids-bookreview.com. Kids' Book Review. 17 May 2009. Retrieved 19 June 2015.
  5. ^ "Harry the Dirty Dog". www.commonsensemedia.org. Common Sense Media Inc. Retrieved 19 June 2015.
  6. ^ "Harry, the dirty dog". WorldCat, accessed 21 September 2015.
  7. ^ StorylineOnline (2012-05-21), Harry the Dirty Dog read by Betty White, archived from the original on 2021-12-15, retrieved 2016-05-05

External links[edit]