Henry Bear’s parents have been entirely too much “fun” since he wished them so on his last birthday; on this birthday, he knows exactly what to wish for.
Mama and Papa Bear beg him to stay up past bedtime. “Just ten more minutes?…Pleeeeease?” Yawning, Henry Bear gets out of bed to play with his parents. They want to climb trees (“Higher!”), play on the swings, and ride bikes—but tomorrow is a school day, Henry Bear reminds them, and he puts himself to bed. Mama Bear serves chocolate cake for breakfast, and his parents suggest they all stay home and watch TV. Mama says school is boring, but Henry rushes off. At school he meets a new girl named Marjani, who appears to be dressed in a shalwar kameez with hijab. They become friends, and Henry Bear invites her over for his birthday. It’s a good thing she comes, because Mama Bear serves a big bowl of candy—no cake, since they “always” have that!—but thank goodness, Marjani brings him a cupcake with a candle on top. Henry Bear is lovable, and his humorous dilemma will resonate with any child who has ever wished their parents were more fun. The illustrations are simple yet sophisticated, with a distinct mustard-slate-brick color palette and multiple patterns. Henry Bear’s European-inspired town of cobblestone and tile roofs is the perfect setting for this funny, playful tale.
Readers will hope to see more of Henry Bear. (Picture book. 5-8)