Bob gets teased for his teeny tiny little stick legs, so he decides to do something about it. He eats to make them bigger; he exercises to make them bigger; he tries to hide them. Nothing works.
Out for a walk Bob visits his local art gallery and is inspired by what he sees; he has an idea! The next day he paints his beak like Matisse, and the day after that like Jackson Pollock. His new look is a hit and Bob becomes something of a fashion icon, with nobody batting even an eye toward his skinny legs.
There’s no denying the power of Deuchars’ simple drawings and clever text. Employing a basic palette of black, white and red (with a few accents thrown in when needed) the illustrations are whimsical and wonderful, but there’s also no denying that the moral is muddled. Rather than “It doesn’t matter what others think,” you might be left with the feeling that You should change to please others. Or maybe Dress to hide your flaws?
REVISIT OUR REVIEW OF AARON REYNOLDS & MATT DAVIES’ NERDY BIRDY (ROARING BROOK)
“A book that opens the door to conversations of bullying and the dangers of group think, Nerdy Birdy is very funny and very timely… And very recommendable.”
Sharing a palette with Bob the Artist, I Am Henry Finch is the story of one bird’s journey from blissful ignorance to enlightened thoughtfulness.
Thinking isn’t exactly a bird’s strong suit, so imagine Henry’s delight when he awakes one day with a thought in his head: “I am Henry Finch.” More thoughts follow, and when his flock is attacked by The Beast, Henry decides that he’s had enough, and he’s not going to take it anymore. Henry attacks! And The Beast eats him.
Within the great animal’s intestinal track (depicted in an especially genius spread), Henry comes to conclusions about himself and life, and hatches a plan for escape. When freed, he returns to his flock and sets them on the path to their own enlightenment.
Not to gush, but I Am Henry Finch is brilliant. With Viviane Schwarz’s phenomenally simple illustrations, and a wonderful sense of comedy, it also packs an emotional and philosophical depth that very, very few books for any age can match. Henry is a hero for the ages, and his book is one of shocking originality.
A must have.
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