Little Red Henry – Linda Urban, illustrated by Madeline Valentine

 51Hn4CnnKgL  Little Red Henry – Linda Urban, illustrated by Madeline Valentine, Candlewick Press, (978-0763661762), 2015.

Format: Hardcover.

Rating: 1-5 (5 is excellent or a Starred review) 4

Genre: Picture Book

What did you like about the book?   This is a story of a family that does not want to let the youngest child, Henry, grow up. Mama and Papa, sister Mem and brother Sven,   love Henry so much that they are stifling him. The first illustration shows an unsmiling Henry being pulled along in a too small wagon by his smiling family. Finally, Henry decides enough is enough and begins refusing help telling everyone “I can do it myself.” He resists all of the offers of assistance and suggestions and escapes to his best friend, Gibson’s house, where they can play together without his family nosing in. His family sadly wonders what they can do now that Henry doesn’t need them anymore. They finally realize that there are so many other things they can do and the happy family “painted and tapped and typed. They waltzed and wallpapered and scribbled and scratched.” But at the end of the story Henry discovers that there is one thing he needs from his family and asks “Could somebody please tuck me in?” His family happily obliges. This wonderful story about learning to let go is complemented by the illustrations which are graphic drawings printed on watercolor paper and painted in gouache. The illustrations are full of expression and fun details. The double page spread where Henry chooses his own outfit is particularly fun as he tries on a poncho, a tutu and other mismatched items. This is a story that both parents and children will identify with.

Anything you didn’t like about it? No.

To whom would you recommend this book?  Hand this to any family that has a baby. Toddlers will love Henry’s quest for independence and his refrain of “I can do it myself.”

Who should buy this book? Public Libraries

Where would you shelf it? Picture Books

Should we (librarians/readers) put this at the top of our “to read” piles? Yes, if you are looking for a new story time book for a theme of independence and self-esteem.

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City: Catherine Coyne, Mansfield Public Library, Mansfield, MA

Date of review:  5/15/15


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