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Happy Harry's Café    by Michael Rosen & Richard Holland order for
Happy Harry's Café
by Michael Rosen
Order:  USA  Can
Candlewick, 2012 (2012)
* *   Reviewed by Bob Walch

I didn't really care for this picture book. In fact, I didn't see much humor in what is dubbed a 'hilarious send-up of a beloved Jewish joke'. Of course, that being said, I'm willing to admit that children find humor where adults draw a blank. Therefore, this book, with its mediocre illustrations, will probably be a hit with a lot of toddlers.

Harry, I think is a bear (not that it really matters) and he works at a café where he whips up a really great soup for his customers. His friends all rush to the establishment when they know that the soup's on! We are told, 'Everyone loves Harry's soup.'

If you scrutinize the illustrations, you'll notice Harry apparently serves his soup from what looks like a coffee carafe and pours it into coffee cups. OK, that works, but it is a bit strange.

Then a cat enters the establishment and he is given some of the famous soup. 'The soup's no good,' says the critical cat. What's this? Yup, the finicky feline isn't impressed. 'You come and try it, Harry,' says the cat.

There's no spoon! Ah, that's the problem. At this point everyone begins to loudly laugh and then they break out into a really silly (make that stupid) song about not having a spoon! Oy vey, have I missed something here? I don't believe so! I mean, I read the darn story four times!

So, I'm not impressed but, as I indicated, young children will probably love Happy Harry's Café for reasons I'm not able to fathom. So give it a try if you think this might tickle your youngster's funny bone, but if you get a blank look, don't say I didn't warn you!

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