cover image Henny


Elizabeth Rose Stanton. S&S/Wiseman, $16.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-4424-8436-8

Readers will do a double take at the confident chicken who waves hello from the cover of Stanton’s debut. Instead of feathery wings, Henny has skinny pink human arms and hands. Although “Henny’s mother... loved Henny anyway,” the other farm animals stare and even chortle. Henny frets, albeit in non-chickenish ways: “She worried about being right-handed or left-handed.... She even worried about things she didn’t quite understand—like tennis elbow, and hangnails, and whether she might need deodorant.” Henny eventually discovers a talent for farm chores and starts “to imagine all the other things she could do,” from hailing a cab to flying (a plane). In gentle pencil-and-watercolor sketches on an eggshell-white ground, Stanton scatters moments of quiet humor like chicken feed—Henny tries to “fit in” with a common chicken pose, folding her arms back like wings, and she bends those same elbows when she covers her ears to dampen a rooster’s crow. It’s a somewhat facile story of difference, but Stanton’s artwork marks her as a talent worth watching. Ages 4–8. Agent: Joanna Volpe, New Leaf Literary & Media. (Jan.)