Henry, the likable pig of Henry’s Map (2013), is back in this picture book.
Stargazing one evening from his front stoop, Henry sees a group of stars that seem to form a picture in the sky—a picture that to Henry’s eyes is the Great Pig. Excited, Henry runs to where his sheep friends are just heading off to bed and shows them the stars. They stare and see…a Great Sheep. Abigail the cow joins them, and she sees a Great Star Cow. And on it goes. Even the chickens see Heavenly Hens. Irritated, Henry goes back to his stoop. Elliot’s gentle writing is quietly humorous, and his illustrations, with their softly rendered nightscapes, capture the magic and mystery of night-sky gazing. The problem, though, is that the ending lacks developmental impact. Henry, after going home and sitting alone, once again sees the Great Pig and rushes off to tell his friends, just as he did at the beginning of the story. And this feels flattish. Nothing, apparently, has changed. The back endpapers show the clever visual reveal of a starry sky with all the animals delineated, but it would have had more impact if it were included in the body of the story.
A lovely story with fetching illustrations that needs a more developed ending to completely succeed. (Picture book. 3-6)