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Pacific Book Review

Title: Harold
Author: Sharon Rues
Illustrator: Dwain Esper
Publisher: AuthorHouse
ISBN: 978-5049-5711-3
Pages: 28
Genre: Illustrated Children’s/ Juvenile Nonfiction
Reviewed by: Barbara Miller
Rating: 5 Star Review

In one word – Simply Adorable! (Okay, that’s two words). But it’s hard to put down in just one word how much of a wonderful illustrated children’s book author Sharon Rues wrote along with her illustrator extraordinaire Dwain Esper. Yes, a duet of talent; Rues’ wordsmithing and Esper’s happy colorful drawings bring the story of Harold, a chocolate brown stuffed furry teddy bear to life.

Originating as a gift under a Christmas tree, Harold became the best friend and companion of this little girl – taking Harold everywhere with her! To the grocery store, but most interestingly Harold went around Europe as a traveling teddy bear – to France, Denmark and many splendid places. Harold was always carried around by his ear – foreshadowing the unique and clever plot twist at the end of the story.

I read this book in its e-version on my computer and the drawings radiated off the screen like snapshots on the old View Master images of idyllic world landmarks. (Sorry kids, you’ll never know the early days of 3-D photography, since you live in this virtual reality world of incredible technologies.) Anyway, the storyboard imagery of traveling around Europe makes for wonderful imprints to youngsters – especially at bedtime being read this story. Plus the family life portrayed with the sisters running around in PJ’s is heartwarming – be careful not to slip on the stairs!

In today’s competitive market of emerging kid’s books, Harold is sure to create its fan base following and come out as a clear winner. This is exactly the blueprint for excellence in children’s storytelling. I certainly hope to see more from this talented team. Rues and Esper are destined for iconic duality like Batman and Robin; Penn and Teller, or Laurel and Hardy. Okay, again showing my age. Peanut butter and jelly – that’s more like it.

For those of you looking for a lovely gift for a toddler’s party, or little girls wanting to read their first books, or as an addition to your family library, buy Harold. While you’re at it, buy a brown stuffed teddy bear (and a needle and thread) as well. Make it a multimedia 4th dimensional keepsake gift ensemble. This is one storybook not to be missed!


The US Review of Books

by Sharon Rues
reviewed by RJM Terrado

“The doctor noticed that Harold’s ear was coming unstitched. He kindly asked if he could give Harold stitches too.”

More often than not, every grown-up has a fond memory of the great toys from their childhood, particularly of those they received on Christmas day, Hannukah or an occasion dear to their hearts. Harold is a fictionalized recount of this innocent phase. It is an adventure of a young girl with her chocolate brown teddy bear she received on a Christmas day. The teddy bear named Harold had a green satin bow around his neck. Together, they would explore England, France, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, and the Netherlands. With the constant travel and play, Harold eventually showed a sign of wear and tear: His ear started to unstitch slowly. It took an untoward incident—the young girl tripped and sustained a cut on her eyebrow—for Harold to be fixed. In the end, the untoward incident worked out positively for both Harold and the young girl.

The strength of this children’s book lies in its ability to address childhood realities in a subtle way: comfort toys, expectations, doctor dilemma, and gratitude. These are realities we eventually outgrow, but may or may not extend and impact the grown up that we are. For kids, Harold is a reminder to take care of their toys. It is also a reminder that love and care go hand in hand. For parents, it is a reminder to allow their kids to enjoy this phase unhurriedly, lovingly. It is also a reminder that gift giving is not about the value of the gift per se. Rather, it is about the giver and how his or her gift made the receiver feel. Harold deserves a space at home, in libraries and pediatric offices.



by Sharon Rues
reviewed by Ellen Sue Spicer-Jacobson

Read this review


26th Annual Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards Judge Review


Harold is a delightful tale of a youngster and her bear and their adventures and misadventures. As I write and review this little story, I realize that the bear owner goes without a name through the whole book. The bear, of course, is Harold who is with our little heroine every day no matter what. As the book winds down, the little girl takes a spill that requires stitches. The doctor is sensitive to her needs and insecurities in such a way to give a sweet ending to the tale. The author is English by birth as is the heroine. Childhood vacations cover Europe and give teachers and parents opportunity to sneak in geography lessons along with the quiet lessons of daily living that include the virtues of trust and compassion. The book is simply and clearly written to be suitable for youngest readers and listeners. The illustrations are delightfully presented as well. Each advances the story matching the simplicity and clarity of the story. It is a delight to see the text and illustrations so well coordinated in a story that I hope would have universal appeal for kids, teachers and parents. This book would be a superb addition to any public or private library catering to youngsters of preschool and early elementary ages.