This is a well-deserved winner of the Kate Greenaway Medal for illustration, which it picked up in 2009. The drawing is absolutely exquisite and the whole book is a work of art.
Harris is a young hare with very big feet. He asks his Grandad why they are so large and Grandad teaches him about hopping, running, and staying clear of wolves. Harris learns all about the world he lives in, until one day he is left to go on by himself. He hops back to Grandad and asks why he isn’t coming too.
“Because I am growing old little Harris. It is your turn to run. The world is yours to explore.”
A clear analogy for a child’s journey towards self-sufficiency and the eventual loss of adult support, the central message of the story is clear and worthy, but it is a little too obvious and too sentimental. The ending, however, as Harris leaps through a beautifully drawn field of grass and asters, is incredibly positive and celebrates opportunity and freedom.
“And Harris ran, leaping over streams and bouncing through meadows on his big, strong feet that would take him to the end of the world… and back home again.”
It isn’t a book for those who dislike a more saccharine story, but it has charm and good intentions, and Catherine Rayner’s pictures are a delight.
If you like ‘Guess How Much I Love You’, this may be a good companion piece.