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Harry the Dirty Dog facts for kids

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Harry the Dirty Dog
First edition
Author Gene Zion
Illustrator Margaret Bloy Graham
Language English, Spanish
Genre Children's literature
Publisher Harper & Brothers
Publication date
Pages 32

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."


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.

In popular culture

  • 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.
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