A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this story of the young cat Henry admiring his schoolmate Chloe has nothing but sweet messages about what it means to admire someone, share, and be a good friend. There's one odd picture of Henry getting ready for his day that shows him standing in the bathroom in his underwear facing a raised toilet seat.
What's the story?
A series of small, friendly episodes from Henry's day let the reader into his cuddly, warm world. Everything he does, everyone he sees, and everything that happens to him is happy and loving. And he ends his day with a final grand act of generosity. He wakes up to the aroma of blueberry muffins baking, not for breakfast, he learns, but for his school lunch. His mom packs his lunch, gives a muffin to his friend, and they start off to school together. Both before school and throughout the day, one good healthy interaction after another builds toward the final moment when Henry gives his muffin to Chloe.
Is it any good?
Henry's world is the kind of place everyone should experience, especially little ones. Everyone is friendly, there's a simple rhythm to the day, and the morning starts with the smell of fresh blueberry muffins.There's nothing flashy, nothing too complicated, just sweet moments that build off of one another. Stories like this can sometimes turn out too sweet and sentimental, but not this one. Its simplicity and innocence are refreshing instead. Told in words that are straightforward, with illustrations that are touchingly delicate and expressive, this story of sharing and admiration is worth sharing and admiring often.
Peter McCarty's finely lined illustrations colored with soft red and brown watercolor are exquisitely understated. Set against cream-colored pages, they have the delicate beauty of cherry blossoms, and set the perfect tone for his story.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about friendship, and what makes a good friend. Who are your best friends and what kinds of things do you do together? How do you know when someone is your friend? Do you think girls and boys can be close friends?
How did the blueberry muffin help tell the story? What did it show about the relationship between Henry and his mother? Why did Henry give it away? What does that say about Henry and Chloe?
Why do you think the author made some of the characters look like cats, others like dogs, pigs, and rabbits? even a cow? What does that tell you about friendship?
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