The Power of Henry's Imagination

Book review by
Jan Carr, Common Sense Media
The Power of Henry's Imagination Book Poster Image
Lost-toy tale pushes message of self-help book "The Secret."

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Designed to introduce young kids to the New Age concept of the Law of Attraction, as laid out in the popular self-help book The Secret. It teaches the principle in story form.

Positive Messages

Like attracts like, and if you imagine what you want, it will come to you.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The family is warm and supportive when Henry loses his stuffed rabbit. Grandpa helps Henry by imparting his wisdom about the power of imagination. 

Violence & Scariness
Language

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Power of Henry's Imagination is a book developed by the folks who brought you the self-help book The Secret, and the story's designed to teach kids its primary principle, the Law of Attraction. The author, Skye Byrne, is the daughter of that book's author, and the illustrator, Nic George, also works at the firm that's sprung up to promote the book's ideas. Simply put, the principle is that like attracts like, so if you imagine what you want in life, it will materialize. In this fictional story, Henry has lost his bunny, so he imagines they're together again, and when he goes to sleep, the bunny turns up. If you like the self-help book, this picture book is a helpful tool to introduce its concepts to kids.

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What's the story?

In THE POWER OF HENRY'S IMAGINATION, when Henry's stuffed animal Raspberry goes missing, he and his parents look in all the usual places, but with no luck. So Henry turns for help to Grandpa, "who knew more than anyone else who had ever lived," and Grandpa suggests, "You just have to imagine that Raspberry is with you -- in this moment." In the next pages, Henry imagines that they're explorers climbing a mountain, pirates on a treasure ship, and astronauts flying through space. That night, as he sleeps, the mailman knocks on the door and delivers Raspberry, whom he found on the path. "Imagine that!" says Grandpa, with a wink.

Is it any good?

Fans of the self-help book The Secret, and others who believe in tapping the power of visualization, will welcome this book introducing the idea to kids, though many kids' books do so implicitly. The cover is branded with the stamp "The Secret," and though the story stands on its own, it's in service to the ideas of the brand.

The art is highly imaginative. Illustrator Nic George uses black line on brown backgrounds and sprinkles actual objects onto each page -- a branch with leaves when Henry's climbed a tree, crumbs and other detritus when he's searching under the couch cushions. It's fun and visually pleasing and can spark discussions about how the objects relate to the story. But the use of black line alone might confuse kids, since illustrators often use that to signal the imaginary, and George uses it here for both real and imaginary scenes. The family is wise and loving, the book is warm, and the happy ending satisfies.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the power of the imagination. Do you think imagining what you want helps you attract and achieve it?

  • Why do you think the artist mixed real objects with the art? How do the objects correspond to the details in the story? Is the art different when Henry's using his imagination? 

  • What active steps does Henry take after he loses Raspberry? When you lose things, how do you figure out where to look for them?

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