Harold and Grace is a story about friendship, being different and change. The story introduces us to some silky eggs stuck to a leaf and some slimy eggs in a little pond. The slimy eggs are surrounded by purple watercolour paint and the silky eggs by green. This colouring continues throughout the text, helping readers to track which character and habitat is being explored.
A storm hits and only one of each egg is left. The eggs hatch and Harold the tadpole meets Grace the caterpillar. They find themselves lonely, as they are the only one of their kind in at the pond. Harold and Grace get teased for being different and so they become best friends. Harold and Grace continue to change as they become a frog and a butterfly.
The illustrations are lovely, often combining a close up and wide view image on the same page. The black linework combined with the watercolour colouring unifies the images while showing that each character is very different.
The story is good at communicating the loneliness of Harold and Grace, but is also humorous in parts.
Sean E Avery is the author and illustrator of Harold and Grace. The illustrations are pen and watercolour. Sean lives in Western Australia, it is wonderful to see such talent being supported by the local publisher, Fremantle Press.
Sean E Avery has also written All Monkeys Love Bananas. The illustrations are in the same style of Harold and Grace, with the dominant use of black ink and highlights of colour that complement the story events. All Monkeys Love Bananas also explores friendship, difference and similarity.
You can visit Sean’s website here. He has some great videos of his studio and shows how he creates the illustrations.
Fremantle Press has provided teacher’s notes here.
Science – Year 4 Biological Science ACSSU072 and ACSSU073
Living things have life cycles
Living things, including plants and animals, depend on each other and the environment to survive.
Harold and Grace change from tadpole and caterpillar to frog and butterfly. There is a gorgeous picture of each animal’s lifecycle on the endpapers. This book would be a lovely introduction to learning about lifecycles. Harold and Grace live in the same habitat, so this book is perfect for discussing how animals depend on each other in an ecosystem.
English – Year 1 ACELT1585 and Year 3 ACELT1600
Listen to, recite and perform poems, chants, rhymes and songs, imitating and inventing sound patterns including alliteration and rhyme.
Discuss the nature and effects of some language devices used to enhance meaning and shape the reader’s reaction, including rhythm and onomatopoeia in poetry and prose.
There are examples of alliteration and parallelism throughout the text. These devices can be explored using the text and students can come up with their own.
Health – Year 1 and 2 ACPPS004 and ACPPS005
Practise personal and social skills to interact with and include others.
Identify and describe emotional responses people may experience in different situations.
The story shows the other animals at the pond treating Harold and Grace badly based on the way they look. The book is a good discussion starter for discussing how each character feels when this happens and relate it to their own experiences. Students could role-play or write dialogue showing how Harold and Grace could deal with this treatment.
This is a great little book with so many potential ideas for integration into your classroom.