cover image Henry in Love

Henry in Love

Peter McCarty, . . HarperCollins/Balzer & Bray, $16.99 (48pp) ISBN 978-0-06-114288-8

McCarty (Jeremy Draws a Monster ) keenly observes a schoolyard crush in this charmer. The cover pictures Henry, an openhearted boy cat, sitting at his desk alongside Chloe, a coquettish bunny. Chloe wears a mysterious grin and a flowered dress of palest pink, and her long ears flop carelessly to one side (“He thought she was the loveliest girl in his class”). McCarty nails several aspects of grade-school life (Henry demonstrates his “best forward roll” to impress Chloe) and loads his compact sentences with meaning and longing. At one point, Chloe, who sits in the back row, coyly asks, “Are you looking at me?” as delicate wildflowers roar across the page, blithely encapsulating Henry's adulation. And in a playground game of tag, she taunts him from atop the jungle gym, “You will never catch me!” McCarty crafts Chloe as a perfect flirt, who claims the blueberry muffin Henry has saved for snack time, and Henry as smitten and quietly hopeful. This gentle, pitch-perfect romance will have readers' hearts thumping with the thrill of first love. Ages 3–6. (Jan.)