Books by Kevin Henkes

THE YEAR OF BILLY MILLER by Kevin Henkes
Released: Sept. 17, 2013

"Sweetly low-key and totally accessible. (Fiction. 7-10)"
Billy Miller's second-grade year is quietly spectacular in a wonderfully ordinary way. Read full book review >
PENNY AND HER MARBLE by Kevin Henkes
Released: March 1, 2013

"Another gem. (Early reader. 5-8)"
Whose marble is it? Read full book review >
Released: Sept. 1, 2012

"A doll of a beginning reader. (Early reader. 5-7)"
Following Penny and Her Song (2012), Henkes delivers an even stronger slice of anthropomorphic mouse life for beginning readers. Read full book review >
PENNY AND HER SONG by Kevin Henkes
Released: March 1, 2012

"A charming, child-friendly take on the ever-popular new-baby theme. (Early reader. 3-8)"
Penny sings a joyful song that resonates in her happy mouse family. Read full book review >
JUNONIA by Kevin Henkes
Kirkus Star
by Kevin Henkes, illustrated by Kevin Henkes
FICTION
Released: June 1, 2011

"Very few writers have such a keen understanding of the emotional lives of children; here Henkes is at the top of his game. (Fiction. 8-12)"
Every year, Alice celebrates her birthday week in February with her parents in a cottage on the beach in Sanibel, far from her snowy Wisconsin home. Read full book review >
MY GARDEN by Kevin Henkes
FICTION
Released: March 1, 2010

"Just plain perfect. (Picture book. 3-7)"
A little girl enjoys helping her mother in her garden, but she knows if she had a garden, it would be something else entirely: no weeds, ever-blooming multicolored flowers with hues she can change with just a thought, chocolate rabbits instead of pests and so on. Read full book review >
BIRDS by Kevin Henkes
by Kevin Henkes, illustrated by Laura Dronzek
ANIMALS
Released: March 1, 2009

"Spare language enhances the story's quiet essence; the girl's musings change abruptly, with a child's mercurial speed, resulting in a grounded offering that begins to fly but doesn't fully soar. (Picture book. 3-6)"
A precocious girl's reverie begins when the birds' morning songs drift through her window. Read full book review >
OLD BEAR by Kevin Henkes
ANIMALS
Released: Sept. 1, 2008

"Confident, harmonious and sweet. (Picture book. 2-6)"
When Old Bear sleeps, he dreams of being a cub and of the changing seasons. Read full book review >
BIRD LAKE MOON by Kevin Henkes
FAMILY AND GROWING UP
Released: May 1, 2008

"Through artfully observed details and perfectly pitched dialogue among the boys and clever Lolly, Henkes deftly locates Mitch's pain and confusion, delivering a novel that's quiet, nuanced and redemptive. (Fiction. 8-12)"
Henkes's third-person narrative, in alternating chapters, presents the inner lives of Mitch, 12, and Spencer, ten. Read full book review >
A GOOD DAY by Kevin Henkes
ANIMALS
Released: March 1, 2007

"A glorious celebration of the simple joys of childhood. (Picture book. 2-5)"
What makes a good day good? Read full book review >
LILLY’S BIG DAY by Kevin Henkes
ANIMALS
Released: April 1, 2006

"With Lilly, it's always a big day. (Picture book. 4-8)"
Lilly, Henkes's peerless princess of mouse perfection, is absolutely certain that she is a shoo-in for the role of flower girl when her beloved teacher Mr. Slinger announces his impending nuptials. Read full book review >
SO HAPPY! by Kevin Henkes
ANIMALS
Released: March 1, 2005

"Reassuring and beautiful. (Picture book. 4-8)"
In a rich landscape that could be Mexico or the Southwest, a woman plants a seed; her son can't think of anything to do; and a little rabbit crosses a tiny bit of water "narrow as a ribbon." Read full book review >
KITTEN’S FIRST FULL MOON by Kevin Henkes
ANIMALS
Released: March 1, 2004

"Simply charming. (Picture book. 3-5)"
In a surprisingly new guise, Henkes turns his hand for his 34th book to a retro look, with rough-hewn, black-and-white illustrations that pair perfectly with this deceptively simply story. Read full book review >
OLIVE’S OCEAN by Kevin Henkes
FAMILY AND GROWING UP
Released: Aug. 1, 2003

"Few girls will fail to recognize themselves in Martha. (Fiction. 10-13)"
On her family's Cape Cod vacation, Martha is haunted by a journal entry left by a dead classmate. Read full book review >
WEMBERLY’S ICE-CREAM STAR by Kevin Henkes
FANTASY
Released: April 1, 2003

"A sweet treat worth waiting for. (Board book. 1-3)"
Henkes (Owen's Marshmallow Chick, 2002, etc.) winningly brings another of his characters to the board-book crowd. Read full book review >
OWEN’S MARSHMALLOW CHICK by Kevin Henkes
FICTION
Released: Feb. 1, 2002

"This little work is begging to be nestled among the pastel grasses of any Easter basket, but it does one better than any chocolate rabbit: it can be enjoyed over and over again. (Board book. 1-3)"
It's Easter morning and Owen, the endearingly silly mouse, and his yellow blanket are back. Read full book review >
SHEILA RAE’S PEPPERMINT STICK by Kevin Henkes
FAMILY AND GROWING UP
Released: Aug. 1, 2001

"A winsome introduction to Henkes for younger audiences and, rarest of all, just the right amount of art for a board book. (Board book. 2-5)"
A sweet treat becomes a source of contention between two sisters in this wry tale about sibling relations and the art of sharing. Read full book review >
WEMBERLY WORRIED by Kevin Henkes
ANIMALS
Released: Aug. 31, 2000

"Maybe some mouse therapy is called for. (Picture book. 4-7)"
As a chronic worrier and an extremely anxious young mouse, life is hard for Wemberly. Read full book review >
OH! by Kevin Henkes
Released: Oct. 1, 1999

"For all their simplicity, the words and acts have an opacity that encumbers flow and meaning; the haiku-like spareness is employed without effect. (Picture book. 2-6)"
PLB 0-688-17054-4 Henkes offers a bare-bones arrangement of words to convey snowfall, the creatures that enjoy it, and the passing of the day. Read full book review >
THE BIRTHDAY ROOM by Kevin Henkes
Released: Sept. 1, 1999

"It's a beguiling story, with near tragedies, happy endings, and clear insight into the hearts of adults and children. (Fiction. 10-12)"
Henkes (Sun and Spoon, 1997, etc.) peoples this oblique tale of a family healing an extended rift with his usual cast of disarming characters. Read full book review >
CIRCLE DOGS by Kevin Henkes
ANIMALS
Released: Sept. 1, 1998

"Henkes completes the goodnight tale with just the right amount of sounds for the sensory enjoyment of preschoolers. (Picture book. 2-4)"
PLB 0-688-15447-6 Shapes cavort in the form of circle dogs (long thin dachshunds that chase their tails, forming circles) that live in a big square house in this delightful book for the very young. Read full book review >
SUN & SPOON by Kevin Henkes
FAMILY AND GROWING UP
Released: Sept. 16, 1997

"Like Henkes's other novels, this is more restrained in tone than his picture books, but it is infused with the same good humor, wisdom, and respect for children's hearts and minds that characterize all his works. (Fiction. 9-11)"
Wearing his novelist's hat, Henkes (Protecting Marie, 1995, etc.) offers another meticulously crafted, quietly engaging epiphany: A 10-year-old looking for just the right memento of his recently dead grandmother finds it literally in his hands. Read full book review >
LILLY'S PURPLE PLASTIC PURSE by Kevin Henkes
ANIMALS
Released: Aug. 1, 1996

"The illustrations do an exceptional job of amplifying the text: Lilly dances with excitement, flashes with anger, wanes in remorse, and leaps right off the page with joy. (Picture book. 5+)"
Lilly (Julius, The Baby of the World, 1991, etc.) is back, and in school. Read full book review >
GOOD-BYE, CURTIS by Kevin Henkes
FICTION
Released: Sept. 1, 1995

"Pair this with Cynthia Rylant's Mr. Griggs' Work (1989) for another fond look at one person's impact on a community. (Picture book. 3+)"
A charming book that evokes the best of a community and celebrates one special letter carrier named Curtis. Read full book review >
PROTECTING MARIE by Kevin Henkes
ANIMALS
Released: May 1, 1995

"As in Henkes's other novels (and in contrast to his picture books), the glacial, evenly modulated plot requires patient readers; the reward is a cast of good-hearted, strongly individual characters moving through a simply told but multilayered story, rich in imagery and feeling. (Fiction. 11-13)"
A slow, meaty story of an autocratic father and his strong- minded daughter looking for ways to break through the reserve that keeps them from expressing their mutual love and respect. Read full book review >
OWEN by Kevin Henkes
by Kevin Henkes, illustrated by Kevin Henkes
Released: Sept. 1, 1993

"A delectably amusing look at a true first love. (Picture book. 3-6)"
Owen loves his blanket "with all his heart.'' "Fuzzy'' goes where he goes and likes what he likes—"grape juice, chocolate milk...'' Leaning over the back fence, nosy Mrs. Tweezers "fills his parents in'' on various cures for Owen's affection—the "Blanket Fairy'' (Fuzzy survives safely inside Owen's pajama pants); the "vinegar trick'' (Owen finds a new favorite corner to cuddle). Read full book review >
WORDS OF STONE by Kevin Henkes
FAMILY AND GROWING UP
Released: Sept. 16, 1992

"An outstanding book, one of the year's best. (Fiction. 10+)"
Gentle, imaginative Blaze has literally buried, beneath stones he has set in a circle, the several imaginary friends who have failed to help him overcome fears dating back years, to his mother's death. Read full book review >
JULIUS, THE BABY OF THE WORLD by Kevin Henkes
Released: Sept. 24, 1991

"The expressively drawn characters - mice with very human clothing and domestic arrangements - are amusing and appealing. (Picture book. 3-7)"
"Before Julius was born, Lilly was the best big sister in the world," but of course "after Julius was born, it was a different story" - the usual tale of sibling displacement, anger, jealousy, and eventual acceptance. Read full book review >
CHRYSANTHEMUM by Kevin Henkes
FICTION
Released: Sept. 16, 1991

With perfect trust in her doting parents, Chrysanthemum (a mouse) knows that her name is, as they tell her, ``absolutely perfect''—until she goes to school and is teased about it by her classmates, especially the imperious Victoria. Read full book review >
JESSICA by Kevin Henkes
Released: March 20, 1989

Ruthie has an imaginary friend who reflects Ruthie's feelings and takes the blame for whatever mischief is going on—in spite of Ruthie's parents' occasional exasperation: "There is no Jessica." Read full book review >