cover image Old Henry

Old Henry

Joan W. Blos. William Morrow & Company, $16 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-688-06399-3

When Old Henry sees a ramshackle house, he decides to move in, birds and all. His furniture seems to go with the place; he feels at home. But the neighbors expect Old Henry to fix up the house and yardexpectations he ignores, thank you very much. They try everything to persuade him, but even the bribe of a hot pie won't get Old Henry to clean up. Tired of being nagged, he leaves town. Then the townspeople feel lost without him and, wherever it is that Old Henry is, he misses them, too. A letter to the mayor sets the wheels in motion for him to return home (but he'll mend the gate and shovel the snow). This compromise is a little disappointing; young readers will probably have loved Old Henry the way he was and may wish the neighbors would get off his back! In fact, Henry's honesty and happiness make this a heroic story until the ending, which some may find sentimental. Without undermining the text, the rainbow-hued watercolor and pencil drawings exalt the simple affirmations of the story, with characters both comic and poignant. Gammell demonstrates again that he is one of themost gifted illustrators working today.(All ages)