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Reading Reviews for Tiny Animals
8 Reviews Found

Review #1, by xinkheartedx Tiny Animals

26th May 2015:
Hello there!

It's MyChemicalFanFiction (from the forums) here! I just stopped by to take a peek at your authors page and found this. I must say, this idea fascinates me.

I feel so sorry for poor Harry, the poor boy got his only chance at a decent Christmas snatched away from him the second it was offered. I just want to give him a big hug!

One thing I'm kind of curious about is who put Harry's name down? I feel like it could be Mrs Figg but obviously there are other possibilities, perhaps a well meaning teacher or an empathetic classmate?

Anyway, I really enjoyed reading this and I think you captured the Dursley's perfectly and you did well at keeping everything in canon.

- Ali

Author's Response: Hi, Ali,

Thank you for offering this review swap.

I'm glad you enjoyed my story. There are probably hundreds of Pre-Hogwarts stories that we could write about Harry, to fill in that big gap in the canon.

Many readers wonder who submitted Harry's name to the Christmas Project. I don't know for sure, but if I had to guess, I would say it might have been someone from his school, a staff member, because he didn't have friends at school, due to Dudley's bullying presence.

Mrs. Figg might have done it; she knew his circumstances, and even if she didn't dare give him presents openly, she might have used a program like this.

I hope that Harry, when he thought about it later, got some solace from knowing that someone had cared and tried, even if he didn't get to keep the gifts.

Thanks again for reading and reviewing! :)


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Review #2, by Shadowkat Tiny Animals

24th May 2015:
Here for the swap! What is up with all you people on this site giving me feels? Oh, who am I kidding. I'm just as guilty of this...

Anyway, that was so sad, and totally something I could see happening. I just wanna hug him so badly, but at least we know he won't be there for much longer. It makes me wonder though how Harry would have turned out if he'd never been to Hogwarts, and instead had to stay with the Dursleys until he could move out, or maybe ran away.

I kept waiting for the description of the dog to look like Padfoot, especially since I noticed a deer was in there. It didn't happen, but I'm just going to keep thinking it anyway, regardless.

It was a very well written story, and I enjoyed reading. Well, as much as I could wanting to punch Harry's relatives in the face. But that's beside the point.

Thanks for the swap!

Author's Response: Hi, Kat!

I don't usually write sad stories, but with Pre-Hogwarts Harry, it's hard to write any other.

You are the second reader to notice the correlation between the little animals that Harry has collected and the images of the Marauders--he has two dogs, a deer, and a mouse, plus a few others. Given how tiny and simple those plastic animals are that come in British Christmas crackers, it would be hard to make a judgment about specific details on any of them. One dog could be Padfoot, the other could be a wolf.

Thank you for reading and reviewing for this swap. I see that you also have a story about Harry as a little boy. There's a lot of scope for writing stories about his childhood.


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Review #3, by TheHeirOfSlytherin Tiny Animals

11th May 2015:
I am here for our review exchange and I am so sorry it's late.

This was so sad. Christmas should not be sad. Harry is just... poor little Harry. Every moment of this just seemed to get worse for him and I started to tell myself that Hagrid should come sooner. Not that I hate what you wrote; honestly, there is nothing I love more than a story that shows a plausibly more acurate picture of Harry's childhood/life in general. Bonus points if you get me to shed a tear or two.

You did both of those things. I'm both sad and happy and trying to understand exactly how to convey that into words.

I wonder who put Harry's name on the list. I wouldn't be surprised someone from the magical world managed it, but it would be so nice if a Muggle did it - a teacher or neighbor. After ten years with the Dursleys, surely someone noticed he wasn't being treated so well other than the ones who brought him in the first place.

I'm glad I read this. I'll be back for the hot seat reviews. :)


Author's Response: Hi, Sam. No apology needed. I understand you've been rather busy recently.

Thank you for reading and reviewing this little story which illustrates further the vast difference between Harry's life at the Dursleys' home and his life after the arrival of Hagrid. Daily mistreatment is so common for him that he simply expects and accepts it as inevitable, even on Christmas. Things seem so hopeless for him, and yet hope is right around the corner, if only he knew it.

Readers often speculate about who it was that submitted Harry's name, and I am inclined to suppose that it was someone from the Muggle world, because I doubt that someone from the magical world would use a Muggle social service agency. Odds are that it was someone from his school, since school personnel are trained to be on the lookout for socioeconomic needs of the students.

By the end of the story, when Harry begins to play with the little animals and imagine a better life for them, we can see the wounded, despairing little boy under his stoic facade. He has amazing strength, but how long would it have lasted? There must be a thousand stories of the years before Hagrid arrived.

Thank you for your comments.


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Review #4, by pointless_proclamations Tiny Animals

10th May 2015:
Hi Vicki,

You've been hot seated. . . Duh, dun, dunn.

Vicki, this is a remarkably-written tale about the last bad Christmas. You've done everything wonderfully. The style if narration was amazing and entertaining. The flow of the pieces was one of the best I've ever read. I think you're spot-on with the way you've characterised the Dursleys. I don't see any discrepancy in how I read them from the books to how I read them now in your wonderful one-shot.

This is emotionally effective and you've inspired so much empathy with this story. It was so enjoyable to read, granted that it was sad with good reason. Still, enjoyable!! :D


Author's Response: Hi Em. Thank you for visiting me in the Hot Seat. I am glad you enjoyed my story, sad though it was, but how could any story about Harry at the Dursley house not be sad? In the seven books, we mostly see Harry at an older age, when he could fight back somewhat, but stories of little kids being mistreated are particularly heart-wrenching.

I switched the Point of View in the middle section of the story, to show the household as seen by the eyes of an outsider, and that was a very interesting exercise. The Dursleys were always so careful to keep outsiders from seeing anything of their treatment of Harry within the walls of their home. A big shock for everyone when Laura suddenly appeared!

Thank you so much for your kind comments about the quality of the writing. I hope that your turn in the Hot Seat will be coming up soon. :)


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Review #5, by Infinityx Tiny Animals

10th May 2015:
One sec, while I wipe the tears from my eyes. *sniffles* there. Hi Vicki! Stopping by your stories once again! :)

Wow, this was so heartbreaking. I've only read one other fic of yours - the Unexploded Bombs one - and while that was really good, this one's on a different level entirely. I absolutely LOVED it. You even made me tear up - which is saying something because i'm the one who usually makes people cry. :P

Anyway, I love how you're exploring Harry's childhood here. I've read a lot of fics that are about the missing moments in the Hogwarts era or after that, but not many that focus on a child Harry in canon. Since I've read an adult Harry of yours before this, I can see the contrast in the tone of voice between this fic and that one. I don't know if it was intentional but in any case, it was really effective. Here, there's that undertone of innocence and sadness with every description. Even though it's supposed to be a joyous time, it's such a heart-wrenching story and the you've written it in quite a simple, easy-flowing manner which is befitting the mood of the story.

Your characterization of Harry is spot on. I love how you've used instances from canon to add various details like the handkerchief he's given for christmas, and Marge's visits. Your descriptions were so lovely as well.

I love the concept of a Christmas Project! It's so original and it worked so well with this fic! Hmm, I like how you've made the Dursleys so hostile towards her. On one hand, they try to keep up their perfect image with the neighbours, but on the other hand, they're so rude to anyone who even mentions Harry's name. I think you've written them excellently.

And that ending with the little animals and a happy house - gah, that brought tears to my eyes more than anything else. That childlike tone was present in that paragraph and it was so sad I just want to cuddle little Harry and give him the love he's been missing for so long and show him what a real, happy family is like. :'(

Beautiful writing, Vicki, I really loved this one-shot! :)

Author's Response: Hi Erin. Thank you so much for reading and reviewing my one-shot "Tiny Animals". You are probably correct in saying that there are not many stories focused on a young-child Harry in a canon setting. This is a wide-open area for new canon-compliant stories; Jo skips so quickly over all these years.

Harry is trying so hard to be grown-up, skillfully preparing the food and steeling himself to expect nothing special, hoping at best for a "neutral" day in which at least nothing bad happens, saving the tiny plastic dog to put with the other animals but feeling too old to actually play with them. And then his hopes of a neutral day are dashed, and his Christmas presents, the only ones he ever had within his memory, are snatched away by the Dursleys, and in his misery he reverts to playing with the animals again, as he did when he was a much smaller child.

The tone of the story is deliberate, coming from the fact of seeing everything through Harry's eyes, and he still is a child in this story. My feelings as I wrote the story were the same as yours; I wanted to tell him, "It won't be long now. Your deliverance is coming soon."

It is astonishing how much he had to endure in that family and how he managed to emerge from it as functional as he did. My novella, "The Baby In The Closet", explores this issue at greater length.

Thank you again for your kind words.


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Review #6, by Black And Yellow Tiny Animals

12th April 2015:
Hi Vicki!

I'm Black And Yellow. I've seen you around the forums, and decided it was time to read and review something of yours. So here I am to do just that.

I liked this story. You hardly ever see any stories of Harry's time with the Dursleys before he became a student at Hogwarts, and I think that's a shame. I'm very interested in seeing how people think it was living them, and I think your portrayal of the Dursleys was very believable, and I could really imagine something like this happening.

I feel sorry for poor Laura, who had to walk into that mess of a family, but even more sorry for poor Harry, who had to live with these people. Can I ask if you know who suggested Harry? I'm really interested in knowing that. I though it might have been Mrs. Figgs, but I'm far from sure.

Anyway, I should probably go back to my black and yellow friends. See ya around the forums, Vicki!


Black And Yellow

(and a little fun fact to end it all. I also have a story featuring Petunia and Vernon, but at a very different time in their lives)

Author's Response: Hi, Black and Yellow.

Thank you so much for deciding to read one of my stories, and to leave such a nice review!

You are right in saying that there are not a whole lot of stories about Harry's life before he went to Hogwarts, and I was discussing recently with my daughter about what kinds of stories could be written about that period. I was afraid that stories about Harry's interactions with the Dursleys would all start sounding alike (they mistreat Harry), but there might be something about his experiences at school, or with Mrs. Figg, or anything else when he is old enough to be away from the house.

I felt sorry for Laura too, but I suppose you have to have a thick skin if your job involves entering strangers' houses. Still, that was one for the books, but she handled it as well as she could. My daughter laughed about the house with no furniture in it, and she said that obviously that family had just moved back to England from overseas, and all their household goods were still in a container ship somewhere on the high seas!

People who read this story often ask who really did suggest Harry's name, and the answer is that I don't know. Unlikely that it was someone from the wizarding community, because the Hogwarts staff were unaware of Harry's living conditions, and the wizarding community would not have used a Muggle organization. Mrs. Figg? Maybe. Someone at his school? Maybe; the school staff was probably aware of neediness among the pupils and inclined to use social service agencies. A neighbor or the parent of a classmate? Probably not. The Dursleys didn't seem to have close social relationships with the neighbors, and Harry didn't have close friends at school. So I'm going with a member of the school staff, someone who recognized neediness but didn't know what Vernon and Petunia were like.

(I would read your Vernon and Petunia story, but I'm not sure how to find it.)

Thanks again. I was happy to hear from you.


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Review #7, by CassiePotter Tiny Animals

11th April 2015:
Hi Vicki! I'm here for our review swap!
This story was so, so well done. You wrote Harry and the Dursleys wonderfully! I thought their characters were spot on with canon.
I loved your descriptions of Harry and Aunt a Petunia getting everything ready for breakfast and then for Christmas dinner. I could picture the China plates, the glasses, and all the food they were making.
I loved the section with Laura Prentiss! She seems really spunky, and I liked her a lot! I wish she had been able to get Harry his presents, though. I want to know who submitted his name! Someone from Hogwarts, perhaps?
The end of this story was probably my favorite part. It was simultaneously really sweet and really sad. I could picture little Harry playing with all of his animals, and loved that the ones he had hinted at the Marauders' animagus forms.
The last paragraph of this story was beautifully written. It made me want to give Harry a hug and assure him that he'll have friends and a happy Christmas next year!
This was a lovely story, Vicki! Thank you for the swap!
Cassie :)

Author's Response: Hi, Cassie. Thank you so much for this lovely review. I'm glad that you thought I did the Dursleys well.

The descriptions of the Christmas meals and the decorations were taken from internet information about British Christmas customs, including the Queen's Christmas speech, although I don't know if she really gives the speech in the morning or the afternoon, but for the story it had to be in the morning!

You know how it is, when you write something and then later, when it's finished, you see things in it that you didn't do on purpose but which seem important? I felt that way about how Harry's day turned out. In the beginning, he thought that Christmas was going pretty well (by his standards), but in the end he ends up back in the cupboard without any dinner. At first I wondered if this story was just another cliche everything-goes-badly-for-Harry-at-the-Dursley's-house story, but then I got to thinking that perhaps the Dursleys, in their animosity towards Harry, deliberately looked for something to take offense at, so that they could prevent him from having a good day, and that that had been their intention all along, that he should end up back in the cupboard. So by throwing him into the cupboard without any dinner, they were just staying true to their own characters.

Laura Prentiss was an interesting character to write. What an experience for her. I don't know who submitted Harry's name, but I'm guessing it was someone from his school, since few other Muggle people knew him. I doubt that anyone at Hogwarts knew what was going on.

You are the only person who has ever mentioned that the tiny animals (two dogs, a deer, a mouse, plus also cats and a maybe-bear) foreshadow the animagus forms of the Marauders (a dog, a wolf, a stag, and a rat) that Harry will learn about later. Yes, that was on purpose. And the brown pasteboard box, set on end at the side of the white handkerchief to represent a house and a snowfield, foreshadows the Hogwarts castle up north in Scotland where they all live together. So there was a bit of mysticism here. Like you, I wished I could tell Harry that these things predicted a happier future for him soon, an unexpected way out of his present nightmare.

Thank you so much for this review.


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Review #8, by Chazzie Tiny Animals

10th April 2015:
Hey Vicki!

First of all, what a brilliant name for this. I loved how it tied in to the Christmas tree, and then Harry playing with them at the end. Oh the feels.

I'm so glad you suggested this story. You took me through so many emotions in this one piece. Your characterisation was absolutely perfect, especially with Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon. You had them right from the start, and maintained their personalities throughout the chapter.

Laura was a very interesting addition to the Christmas scene. If Harry wasn't so used to the Dursleys treatment of him then that would have been heartbreaking for him to be offered the gifts and then not allowed them. To me, that makes his situation even sadder because he is resigned to being treated like that.

I was almost disappointed when Laura said that she couldn't do anything more. I would have thought that she would at least try to bring social services into the picture, considering that she realised how the Dursley were treating Harry. Vernon practically admitted it to her.

That last paragraph broke me, Vicki. I am not crying but I'm very close to it. Poor little Harry :(

All in all, an absolutely brilliant story. Really well done, and thank you for the opportunity to read this!


Author's Response: Hi, Lottie. Thank you so much for reviewing, and I'm so glad you liked this story. It came from a story prompt (an unexpected visitor at a Christmas meal) for a challenge a couple of years ago. Story prompts are really useful for me, in getting an idea going.

Many years ago, when my children were 1 and 4 years old, Santa Claus came to our house, but he did get to leave gifts and everyone was happy.

And about ten years ago, when I was visiting in a small town in New Zealand in December, we went to an afternoon music event at the church, where Christmas crackers were handed out. My New Zealand friends asked me why I didn't open mine, and I said that I was saving it to take back to America and show my family. They thought that was very funny, and gave me all the leftover crackers to take back also. As I recall, my cracker contained a tiny dog.

As for Laura and whether anyone will do anything when she reports why she didn't deliver the gifts, it will remain unanswered. We know that nothing had changed by the time Harry received his first letter, and I have always wondered why the staff of his school didn't notice the great disparity between his clothing and Dudley's, or why they didn't put two and two together. It strains one's brain a little bit, trying to make that bit of canon credible. But I don't know the British laws in that regard.

At first I was going to write Vernon as being upset that Laura had discovered how he was treating Harry, but my daughter, who lived for many years in various African countries, says that Vernon's attitude ("...he practically admitted it...") is common in families there that take in orphaned relatives--they give the orphans the bare minimum and freely admit it; it is the common standard. So I went ahead and wrote Vernon like that also.

Thank you so much for that great review.


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