Thursday, February 11, 2010

Valentine's Day Reading

Henry In Love

By Peter McCarty
Balzer & Bray (HarperCollins)
ISBN: 9780061142888

Published in late 2009, Henry in Love is one of my new favorite picture books, particularly for this time of the year.

Simple sentences, usually one or two per page spread, introduce Henry the cat and his crush on Chloe the rabbit, the “loveliest girl in his class.” This sweet, gentle story of childhood crushes is complete with flirtation by cartwheels and somersaults, snack exchanges, and the anticipation of new seat assignments.

What really had me swooning however, are the illustrations. Each anthropomorphized character is depicted in a realistic meets modern fashion, resulting in the perfect level of cuteness. The use of shading with dark hues to create a furry effect, combined with pops of bright color set against an otherwise sparse background makes for a sophisticated visual experience that still offers wide appeal.

This book would be an excellent early elementary read aloud for Valentine's Day. In my community parents are very interested in exposing their children to American holidays and I never have complaints about sharing such titles. For more sensitive communities, this book never distinctly mentions Valentine's Day, rather young love is the focus.


  1. I am such a big fan of Peter McCarty! I had a chance to hear him speak at a conference where he talked about working on this lovely book, as well as "Jeremy draws a monster." These were done in a very different style than his earlier books, and shows what a great artist and storyteller he is.
    Btw, I used to work at the Queens Library -- first at Richmond Hill, then Forest Hills and finally at Central in Jamaica :-)

  2. Small world, Monica! Thank you for your comment.

    I'm so intrigued by the influences behind his style transition in the two most recent books. How amazing to hear him speak!