Harry Reade’s (1927-1988) life experiences were unconventional, his personally eccentric (click here to read more about his colourful life). He expressed his attitudes and ideas through satirical cartooning, political illustration and writing, always aiming to combat social injustice. He has also written and illustrated some children’s books. Fascinated by this man’s life I have gone on a quest to find the children’s books he created. According to Marcie Muir’s and Kerry White’s 3 volume bibliography surveying all Australian children’s books published from 1774 to 2000 , Harry Reade has written and illustrated just two: “White Fellers Are Like Traffic Lights” (1984) and “How Many Ropes on a Boat?” (1987). Both are out of print and took close to 6 months to find but getting hold of them was certainly worth the hunt – clever, fun rhymes, cheerful illustrations with good vibes all around. Both these books are reproduced on this blog in their entirety.
While the message of “White Fellers Are Like Traffic Lights” is that of tolerance and understanding (check it out here), “How Many Ropes on a Boat?” (reproduced below) is entertaining and educational about boats in a fun light-hearted way. The unexpected twist towards the end is guaranteed to amuse young sailing enthusiasts. Worth noting that Harry Reade must have known a thing or two about the boats as he lived on a boat for a long while so as to be able to move around at will. Enjoy!
Watch out for our next post about a Harry Reade related treasure that we found in the far away Russia recently (a rare find worth its weight in gold!)
 Marcie Muir and Kerry White, “Australian Children’s Books. A Bibliography. 1774 to 2000” (Vol. 1: 1774-1972; Vol. 2: 1973 – 1988; Vol. 3: 1989-2000).
This 3 volume bibliography aims to provide a comprehensive view of the entire subject of Australian children’s books, the entries are arranged in a single alphabetical sequence by author, while the individual titles of an author’s works are entered chronologically.
How delightful to come across this page! Harry was a lifelong friend of both my parents (to whom How Many Ropes on a Boat is dedicated), and was a constant in our lives until his death in 1998. As children, my older brother and I spent many weekends helping Harry rebuild a timber saling boat that he subsequently lived on for some time. Thank you for sharing his books here.
Hilary, I am delighted to have connected with you following this message! Looking forward to talking about it further. This wonderful creator deserves to be known more and be celebrated!