A picture book about a youngest child who wants to grow up...but the rest of the family isn’t ready to let him.
Little redheaded Henry is the adored baby of the family. Mama, Papa, sister Mem and brother Sven all can’t do enough for him. They cart him and coddle him and dote on him—but “[f]rankly, little redheaded Henry [is] sick of it.” When Henry insists on doing for himself, the family is at loose ends—until they rediscover long-neglected personal creative interests that foster healthier familial bonds. Striking a balance between lively and atmospheric, Valentine’s illustrations lend a depth to the lighthearted story of cosseted Henry’s insistence on independence. Her design sense is sophisticated—vignettes are used to great advantage to show movement and time passing, and gutters are expertly utilized in double-page spreads to underscore division. Additionally, readers’ eyes are skillfully navigated through each illustration and to the page turn. Urban’s narrative tone matches the illustrative tone in its sophistication. Relatively complicated sentence structures are combined with simple ones, and the result is an energetic text—although the rule of three is applied with perhaps a bit too much regularity.
A story that humorously but gently reminds overprotective families that it is natural and necessary and healthy for a child to learn to do for himself. (Picture book. 4-8)