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Andres Quintero
Hairy Harold and his extraordinary trip to New York
Clara the Rabbit realizes she is tired of her small town and looks for an opportunity to escape to thrilling New York City. Her hairy friend Harold, a gorilla, goes along on the adventurous trip that pushes him to face his biggest fear. In the end, Harold will make a great sacrifice, one that will reveal the way back home but will also help them both realize the true meaning of friendship. Hairy Harold and his extraordinary trip to New York is devoted to ordinary characters who discover something extraordinary. It's about Harold, a rather uncouth gorilla with an appreciation for the simple things in life, and Clara, a rabbit who enjoys the latest trends and has an insatiable desire for attention. It's a story that takes place in an enigmatic city full of superlatives and nonstop action, a place sometimes unforgiving to newcomers.
Quintero’s impressive debut, which was crowdfunded through Kickstarter, introduces shy Harry and outgoing Clara, a quintessential odd couple. She loves red shoes, French fries, and diet soda; he dines on bugs and enjoys tending the garden. (Harry is a beefy gorilla in glasses, while Clara is a waifish rabbit.) When Clara pursues her dream of visiting New York City, she “wants her best furry friend to come along,” so they take a bus because Harry is terrified of heights. With an almost Dadaist eccentricity, Quintero’s illustrations capture the chaos of the city in collages that incorporate pencil and ink-drawn buildings, maps, advertisements, and other ephemera, while also highlighting some very stylishly dressed animals. The two visit museums, ride the subway, and go window-shopping. When the money runs out, Harry responds to an ad that reads, “Needed: Gorilla to jump off a 100-foot high diving board. Good pay,” forcing him to face his biggest fear. Quintero’s storytelling isn’t quite as confident as his illustration skills, but this is still a rewarding, offbeat N.Y.C. adventure that combines a loyal friendship with a gentle critique of consumerism. Ages 4–8. (BookLife)