HENRY by Nina Bawden
Kirkus Star


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One of Britain's best novelists for children returns to the setting of Carrie's War--Wales during WW II, refuge for many of London's children--with an autobiographical story. Not realizing that he has caused a disruption in the squirrels' lives that equals his own family's displacement after the bombing of their street, Charlie (7) brings a baby squirrel home to his mother and older brother and sister, who are living with a Welsh farmer's family. Accepting the irremediable (""our mother"" finds nurturing small creatures irresistible), the family takes Henry in. Like Farley Mowat's unforgettable owls, he's a rambunctious character with a will of his own; like his adoptive family, he adapts and makes a place for himself, roaming free; but in the end, as they try to protect him by caging him more as he matures, he escapes to freedom. Bawden's characters always have an intense reality that ensures readers' empathy; their particular experiences illuminate our own--here, the delicate balances involving nurture and captivity, family unity and growth. Henry himself is entrancing; and though her humans are a little stiff, wildlife illustrator Powzyk renders him beautifully in soft pencil. The book's design is unusually attractive, with full-page illustrations bordered in squirrel red-brown. A treasure to be shared aloud.

Pub Date: May 1st, 1988
Page count: 119pp
Publisher: Lothrop, Lee & Shepard