Sunday, June 23, 2019

Best Wishes! Make a Wish, Henry Bear by Liam Francis Walsh

Henry's got a parent problem.

You've heard of free-range kids? Henry's got free-range parents.

It was the night before Henry's birthday. He pulled the covers up to his nose.

"Can't you stay up a little longer?" asked Mama Bear. "Just ten more minutes?" begged Papa Bear. "Pleeeeease?"\

"Fine," said Henry with a sigh. "Ten minutes, but that's all!"

Hanry's parents take him outside into the night and urge him to climb high and higher in the backyard tree.


Rubbing his bruised backside, Henry turns down Papa's offer to push him really high on the swing or Mama's pitch for a midnight family bike ride.

Henry is tired and cranky the next morning. It's a school day, but his breakfast is chocolate cake--again! His parents urge him to skip school and watch TV on the sofa in pajamas with them.
"But I have to go to school!" said Henry.

"Boring," says Mama Bear. "Take some toys."

At lunchtime, Henry is frowning into his lunch box when the new girl, Marjani, sits down beside him.
"I've never seen someone with a slice of chocolate cake look so unhappy," she said.

Henry confesses the whole story. It's his birthday, and on his last birthday he'd wished for fun parents who let him eat cake anytime, stay up too late, and skip his homework. But Henry has come to regret that wish. It's a cut-and-dried case of too much of a good thing!
"Tonight, when I blow out my candles, I'm going to wish them back the way they were, he said."

Henry invites Marjani to his party, but that night there's no chocolate cake with candles for his birthday. Mama Bear has decided a great big bowl of candy is just the thing for this birthday dinner!

But in some skillful storytelling, Liam Francis Walsh's Make a Wish, Henry Bear (Roaring Book Press, 2019) makes the case for the old saw, "Be careful what you wish for, because you might get it!" Luckily, Marjani comes through with the perfect birthday gift, a cupcake--with candle--and Henry gets to make a wiser birthday wish after all in a clever twist on turnabout parenting. Walsh's charming illustrations provide a quaint setting that adds a nice folklorish touch to this otherwise contemporary lesson on learning to wish well and wisely. Says Kirkus Reviews, "Readers will hope to see more of Henry Bear."

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