Little Red Henry
By Linda Urban
Illustrated by Madeline Valentine
Fans of Little Red Hen meet Little Red Henry! Little redheaded Henry is the youngest of 3 children and is pampered, adored and overly protected by his whole family. Mama, Papa, sister Mem and brother Sven can’t seem to do enough for him – brushing his teeth, choosing his clothes and carrying him from place to place all while Mama is talking to him in baby talk. Finally Henry (who is obviously no longer an infant) has had enough and declares “I’m not a baby!” Only to hear his mother say “Of course, you’re not. Now sit in your itty-bitty chair and let Mommy make you breakfast.” And in a style reminiscent of The Little Red Hen the family chimes in:
“Let me,” said Papa.
“Let me,” said Mem
“Let me,” said Sven
“No, thank you,” said Henry. “I can do it myself.”
And he did.
As Henry’s independence grows, he even makes his own playdate with the boy next door where both boys enjoy the freedom of playing in the backyard. His family, on the other hand, is at loose ends wondering what to do with all of their free time. As each family member rediscovers the creative interests they enjoyed before Henry absorbed their every waking moment, family life returns to normal. But Henry discovers he’s not totally independent of his loving family when he still craves the usual nighttime routine of being tucked into bed for the night and sung to sleep. And, of course, his family is more than willing to oblige!
Madeline Valentine’s cartoon drawings exude the gentle humor of Henry’s steps toward independence with expressively amusing and colorful gouache drawings beginning inside the front cover and extending through to the back. A charming story which will resonate with children and parents alike.
Reviewed by Connie (Parr Library)