Read Harry & Hopper by Margaret Wild Free Online
Book Title: Harry & Hopper|
ISBN: No data
ISBN 13: No data
The author of the book: Margaret Wild
Edition: Omnibus Books for Scholastic Australia
Date of issue: February 2009
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 572 KB
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Reader ratings: 7.2
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What have you done to me, Margaret Wild? It's been nearly four months since I first read Harry & Hopper, four months since that unforgettable day I turned the pages on what may be the most powerful work of literature I've ever known, sobbing so long and hard that I thought my family would hear me in my bedroom even from downstairs, even with my door closed and the fan running on high. It's been one-third of a year since the story of Harry and his excitable, loving dog, Hopper, shattered my heart into a thousand pieces, yet when I leafed back through the book just now to briefly reacquaint myself with it before writing this review, I found myself again racked with uncontrollable sobs, crying so hard it felt like I was losing my soul. Margaret Wild, what have you done to me, destroying my heart again with this most enormously powerful of all picture books I have ever read, possibly the most powerful book of any kind I've experienced in my entire life? I've read torturously poignant stories before, ones that left me weeping for a long while, but nothing quite like Harry & Hopper, which won't let go of me all these months later. How does such unimaginable beauty as this exist in a world capable of producing the haunting heartache felt by a boy who loses his best friend? How can grief's heartsong be so universal, possessed of such inescapable gravitational pull upon the reader's heart? There is a world of books out there, and then there's Harry & Hopper; I couldn't be more serious about the legitimacy of drawing that distinction. And I still just don't know what to do with this book.
A puppy with legs springy as a grasshopper's practically begs for the name "Hopper", and that's the handle attached to him by his new boy, Harry, when the two first meet. Hopper isn't just a four-legged alleviation of boredom to Harry; the two are soul mates, forever companions, assisting each other in every area of life, fully aware of the mutual love they feel. Hopper is Harry's best friend, able comforter, partner in mild mischief, everything a puppy could be for his young master. Hopper isn't above bending the rules from time to time, sneaking past Harry's paternal sentry to cozy up beside his boy in bed at night, a duo of friends reunited for the long voyage into dreamland. When your closest friend sleeps under the same roof, who wouldn't want him in bed beside you? If only the lovely glow of best-friendship could last into eternity without interruption. If only companions meant for evermore were never separated by a foe as merciless as mortality. If only.
What a desperate loneliness silence can be, when it signifies that a routine greeting is no more. Hopper is gone, and it doesn't matter why. It doesn't matter what condolences are expressed or apologies given. It doesn't matter if an endless row of sympathetic ears hover by to listen and comfort. What matters is the death of love, and a small heart splintering under the weight of pain. For Harry, it means telling no one at school about the life-changing event that has hit his life like a super-storm. He won't even admit it to himself. There's no way this can be true, because if it is, then what is left of Harry's life? How can he distinguish his own life from what he shares with Hopper? Every part of Harry's existence is tinged with the color Hopper brought to it, relentless reminders of what there is to mourn. Harry doesn't even want to sleep in his own bed anymore, where Hopper would joyfully curl up beside him so the two best friends could doze the night away in the quietness of contentment. It's too much for a boy to handle, far too much.
But at night's hushful beckoning, beneath the luminous net cast by alabaster starlight, love's quintessence is discovered anew as Hopper comes to Harry in his hour of desperate need, eagerly licking his boy's face, jumping around like the puppy he once was. Hopper would never really leave Harry forever, would he? Jubilant pup and overjoyed kid frolic under the sacred night sky for hours, the beauty of friendship whole again, a sight for sore hearts to hold onto and never let go. Harry awakens in the morning wondering if his outing with Hopper was a dream, but returns to his bedroom window the next night to look for his dog, and sure enough, Hopper is happily waiting outside for his boy again. Only, Hopper's physical form isn't as solid as last night. He isn't as warm or lively. The following night, Hopper doesn't come to Harry's window at all. Harry sets off to look for his faithful friend, worried that their miraculous reunions may not last, and finds Hopper lying outside the window in the still, gentle night, wispy and ephemeral, the fading ghost of a happy, warm dog who had once given his all to make his boy happy, and continued to do so even after death. With a sorrow as crushing as losing the best friend you'll ever have, who else can possibly help you through it but the friend you lost? Such love could never simply end, fizzling out in the darkness of a mysterious universe as if it never existed in the first place. Love always returns to guard over one so precious. Always. Now it's Harry's turn to take care of Hopper, tenderly retrieving his friend in his arms to bring him to bed, to spend one last night cuddled beside each other before his beloved pet vanishes into the realm beyond human understanding. One last chance to gaze into those eyes "glimmering with mischief and delight", as they did every night they had together. "'Good-bye, Hopper,' said Harry softly."
How can a story of such whimsical hope and happiness be so utterly devastating? Harry & Hopper is a wonderful, beautiful book, yet its sadness is so deep I can't come anywhere near reaching the bottom. Relationships like Harry and Hopper's are so rare, most people get only one like it their entire lives, if they get that. When you've found your Hopper, you've got to hold on real tight, because you won't want to let him or her go for anything in the world. Truly no trade for anything could ever approximate the value of such a companion. The representation of losing that extraordinary love, even just the representation of the loss, is so awful that it's difficult to bear even for the time it takes to read this slim picture book to its end. The loss is so gravely injurious, I couldn't write this review without crying the entire time. I just couldn't. The departure of a Hopper is sadness too heavy to bear...but the temporary return of the adoring puppy to his loving master's side is emotional overload ten times as acute as the passing itself. The poignancy of love regained for a moment, but destined to evaporate again like the mists on a foggy morning, lifts the enduring friendship of Harry and Hopper to become the stuff of legend. Maybe friendship can last forever, in the souls and minds of readers everywhere who will hold Harry and Hopper—and Harry & Hopper—in their hearts for all time, generation after generation without end.
I just...I don't know what to do with this book. I think I'm ready to say it may be on level with E.B. White's Charlotte's Web as the two greatest books among all the thousands I've read in my lifetime. Yes, it's that powerful. I've said before that if ever a perfect book in English existed, I believe Charlotte's Web is that book, but Harry & Hopper is just as legitimate a suitor to perfection, in my opinion. The emotions of this story are so intense that it has likely short-circuited the power source of my own writing, rendering this review unworthy of the book it seeks to commend. I understand and accept that, for none could write better than Margaret Wild has in Harry & Hopper, and no illustrator could have turned in a finer performance than Freya Blackwood, whose faint, dreamlike renderings of a boy and his dog in their dwindling hours of togetherness are flawlessly suited to the text. I am in awe of this impossibly moving book, and there isn't enough I can say to let you know how much it means to me. I don't believe I will read a book greater than Harry & Hopper no matter how long I live, and that's okay. I've got Harry & Hopper. And in these pages, their friendship will live on forever, as joyful and inspiring as the day we first met.
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Read information about the authorMargaret Wild has written more than seventy books and has been published around the world. Her numerous awards and distinctions include the Children’s Book Council of Australia Picture Book of the Year Award for Jenny Angel, illustrated by Anne Spudvilas; The Very Best of Friends, illustrated by Julie Vivas; and Fox, illustrated by Ron Brooks. In 2008 she received the Nan Chauncy Award for an outstanding contribution to children’s literature in Australia. A Bit of Company and Going Home, illustrated by Wayne Harris, were published in 2009 by Walker Books Australia as part of the Walker Classic series. Margaret Wild was the winner of the 2011 Lady Cutler Award.
Vampyre is a finalist in the 2012 Aurealis Awards in the CHILDREN’S FICTION (told primarily through pictures) category.
Australian children's book author.
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