Book Review: Who Swallowed Harold?

Who Swallowed Harold? and Other Poems about Pets
By Susan Pearson
Illustrated by David Slonim
Marshall Cavendish, 2005
Age Range: All Ages

When I’m reading to myself, I like a good novel, preferably one without even a hint of blank verse in it. In reading out loud to The Five-Year-Old, however, it’s a different story. A well-executed rhyme scheme makes many a picture book better.

While I can appreciate the role of poetry in children’s literature, I am rarely interested in collections of poems, for kids or otherwise. But as April is National Poetry Month, The Five-Year-Old and I are dutifully taking a break from our beloved folk tales to explore the mysterious world of (often) short form word play.

We picked up Susan Pearson’s Who Swallowed Harold on a whim. The Five-Year-Old’s whim to be precise. She thought the picture on the front cover looked funny. I thought that was as good a reason as any.

What a happy surprise this book was! For the most part, the poems are light and lively. Several are quite funny, a few poignant, but all are delightful to read out loud. I was a bit leery about reading a book about pets so soon after our cat had died, but Susan Pearson has a thankfully broad definition of “pet.” Yes, you will find poems about cats and dogs in here, but there are also verses dedicated to goldfish, iguanas, snakes, guinea pigs, ferrets, turtles, and ants.

Who Swallowed Harold is a wonderful way to celebrate National Poetry Month with your own preschooler. Just be ready to read it several times. The Five-Year-Old can’t get enough of it.

And now it’s your turn. Found any good poetry collections for kids?

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Cross-posted on our sister blog, Caterpickles.

About Shala Howell

I spent two decades helping companies like Bell Labs, Juniper Networks, and a genetic testing company that was later acquired by CVS translate some of the world’s most complicated concepts into actionable, understandable English. Now I'm working on a much harder problem -- fostering children’s curiosity and engagement in the scientific, artistic, and linguistic world that surrounds them. The first book in my Caterpickles Parenting Series, What’s That, Mom?, focuses on how to use public art to nurture children’s curiosity in the world around them. My next book will focus on science, and how parents without a science degree can answer their curious child's questions without enrolling in a college level refresher course. In the meantime, you can find me blogging about life with a very curious Eleven-Year-Old at, chatting about books and the writing life at, and tweeting about books, writing, science, & things that make me smile at @shalahowell.
This entry was posted in Book Reviews, Poetry for Kids and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Book Review: Who Swallowed Harold?

  1. Jester Queen says:

    We’re big Prelutsky fans in our house. Pizza the size of the sun has been a favorite since my daughter was about 8. We also all love Monday’s Troll (same author), and within that, especially, “Bellow the Ogre”.

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