Harris is a ‘small hare with very big feet’ and a loving grandad to introduce him to the world and encourage him to set out confidently on his own.
That Beatrix Potter came into my mind when I was thinking about Catherine Rayner’s illustrations is not as surprising as I first thought it was – for Rayner, like Potter, draws her animals from life – and it shows. The image of Harris on the front cover of this, her second picture book, is striking not just for her confident use of the page (Harris at the left hand side leaving lots of space to suggest his vulnerability) but for her use of colour wash and tentative line to express his physical reality. This is a living, breathing, gangly creature with very large feet – a real hare.
There is a celebratory feel to this book as Grandad shows Harris ‘all the best things’ – the top of the world, how to dig a cool resting place, how to stay still as a stone when danger threatens and, of course, how to run very fast with your big feet. Rayner’s effortless command of technique (line, texture, light and shade) powerfully conveys the vitality of her characters in this touching story of their loving relationship.