by Sharon Rues

"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.

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