Barry Lyga, Author HENRY WORKSD.B. Johnson

In his satisfying fourth book about Henry David Thoreau's life, which appears on the 150th anniversary of the publication of Walden , Johnson describes how Henry the bear walks to work. On a "misty, mizzling morning," Henry claps on his broad-brimmed hat and trots out the door expectantly. He stops to dig some comfrey root but declines a friend's offer to go fishing: "Not today. I'm walking to work." Along the pebbly dirt road, Henry waters some milkweed and "pushes three crossing stones into place" in an ankle-deep stream. Upon reaching Concord, Mass.—a red, gold and lavender-blue New England town, bustling with horse-drawn carriages and an oxcart—he gives the comfrey root to the postmaster as a salve for an aching foot, and promises to deliver a letter to his neighbor Emerson. Johnson creates multifaceted illustrations that suggest Cubist stained-glass windows; Henry's outdoorsman's coat looks like fuzzy felt in the colored pencil and paint spreads, and its dark orange hue complements the powdery blue-and-slate sky and variegated green woodlands. Naturalists can spy a variety of New England birds and animals (flickers, chickadees, woodchucks), while literary types can track Henry's visits to the Alcott and Hawthorne residences on the endpaper map of the Walden area. After wondering when Henry will get to his job, readers will realize that Henry's helpful, practical deeds must be inextricable from his "work." With a quiet humor and attention to natural settings, Johnson respectfully conveys Thoreau's philosophy of simplicity. Ages 4-8. (Sept.)

Reviewed on: 07/19/2004
Release date: 00/00/0000
Ebook - 32 pages - 978-0-547-76963-9
Open Ebook - 32 pages - 978-0-547-52877-9
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