100 Scope Notes
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Endangered Series #23: Horrible Harry

Popularity comes, popularity goes. As librarians we’re always balancing between what will circulate like crazy and what we need to have in the collection. And we’re not the Library of Congress – we can’t (and shouldn’t) keep everything.

An endangered series is one that appears to be waning in terms of popularity. But popularity isn’t everything. Should it stay, or should it go? Or think of it this way – if you were starting a library today, would this series make the cut? Let’s discuss.

Horrible Harry (series) by Suzy Kline

This chapter book series ran from 1988 to 2019, spanning 30 years and 37 books. Books 1-16 were illustrated by Frank Remkiewicz. Books 17-37 were illustrated by Ann Wummer.

The Case for Keeping: Illustrated chapter books serve such an important role on the path to literacy for kids. They sit at that important place right between early readers and longer novels. Chapter book series are often the books that get kids reading, as they get comfortable with the characters and plot structures. Horrible Harry definitely falls into this category.

The Case for Not: As is often the case for older chapter book series, they can lose steam after a while if parents/teachers/librarians aren’t actively pushing them.

Refresh? While the composition notebook-style look of the books has remained the same from the beginning, there’s a good chance many libraries don’t have later books in the series.

My Verdict: We’re keeping ours. This series seems primed for a boost via a book talk.

What are you doing with this series at your library? Anyone willing to fess up that they still have these on the shelf?

Previously:

Endangered Series #1: The Boxcar Children

Endangered Series #2: The Hardy Boys

Endangered Series #3: American Girl

Endangered Series #4: The Baby Sitter’s Club

Endangered Series #5: The Bailey School Kids

Endangered Series #6: Nate the Great

Endangered Series #7: Cam Jansen

Endangered Series #8: The Kids of the Polk Street School

Endangered Series #9: Pony Pals

Endangered Series #10: Little Bill

Endagered Series #11: Animal Ark

Endangered Series #12: Arthur

Endangered Series #13: The English Roses

Endangered Series #14: Marvin Redpost

Endangered Series #15: Little Critter

Endangered Series #16: Spiderwick Chronicles

Endangered Series #17: Junie B. Jones

Endangered Series #18: Magic School Bus

Endangered Series #19: Dear America

Endangered Series #20: The 39 Clues

Endangered Series #21: Dear Dumb Diary

Endangered Series #22: The Adventures of Mary-Kate and Ashley

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About Travis Jonker

Travis Jonker is an elementary school librarian in Michigan. He writes reviews (and the occasional article or two) for School Library Journal and is a member of the 2014 Caldecott committee. You can email Travis at scopenotes@gmail.com, or follow him on Twitter: @100scopenotes.

Comments

  1. Joanne Rubenstein says

    After booktalking the series for three years, I still had very few takers, so I weeded them and classroom teachers took them. The following year, The PTO booked Suzy Kline for an author visit, so I had to hurry up and order the series. After her visit, they circulated for a couple years, then covid hit. I have to see if I can get them going again.

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