A boy named Henry learns a valuable lesson about listening in this debut children’s tale.
Henry lives with his mother near a blackberry patch. Lucky for Henry, he adores all blackberry foods, from jam to pie, and he’s especially fond of eating fresh berries straight from the bushes. He also loves his two dogs, Thunder and Lightnin’, both aptly named for their appearances and mannerisms. When Henry’s mother asks him to pick some blackberries for a pie, he eagerly runs off to collect all the berries he can. Singing aloud, he joyfully alternates between picking and eating the berries, but as the day goes on, he realizes he has eaten more blackberries than he’s saved. In his excitement, he didn’t pay attention when his mother warned him only to pick blackberries growing outside the forest, and so he ventures into the woods to pick more. Suddenly, Henry hears a monstrous voice in the falling darkness, and he suddenly finds himself in imminent danger of being the key ingredient in a troll’s soup. He deeply wishes that he had paid closer attention to his mother’s warning. Will Henry escape the grasp of the hungry troll and return safely to his mother? Although the story’s climax may be a little bit frightening for younger children, those of at least elementary school age can enjoy the happy resolution. The illustrator uses expressive lines and a simple but rich color palette to effectively convey the mood throughout the story. The illustrations are also well-integrated with Poole’s descriptive prose to create a cohesive, warm feeling throughout. Although there are a few instances of awkward sentence structure, the overall language is concrete and accessible. The length and trajectory of the story may make it appropriate for readers transitioning from picture books to chapter books.
A warmly told moral tale with expressive illustrations.