Children’s Book Reviews

Children's Book Reviews: Hurry Up, Henry

Publish September 21, 2016

Award-winning author of The Stamp Collector, Jennifer Lanthier, teams up with Montreal-based illustrator Isabelle Malenfant (Morris Micklewhite and the Tangerine Dress) in Hurry Up, Henry, a story that celebrates one boy’s love of living in the moment. Henry doesn’t like to hurry. He doesn’t want to be late, either, but he just doesn’t have the same sense of urgency others do. Henry likes to take his time – stopping to watch birds, enjoy flowers, and blow bubbles. Only Henry’s grandma and his friend Simon seem to understand, so when Henry’s birthday draws near, they team up to give him and his family a gift of time they can all enjoy. Repeating the refrain “we’re going to be late” from the lips of a diverse cast of characters, Lanthier quickly establishes the problem Henry faces. She contrasts Henry’s slow nature with that of his friend Simon, who is always being asked to slow down. Using watercolours and pastels, Malenfant infuses Henry’s surroundings with colour, and mutes the backdrops of his rushed family members. While reminiscent of the illustration technique in Sidewalk Flowers, Malenfant goes further by adding a dreamy look to Henry’s immediate environment. The hurried family members also lean out of pages while Henry and his grandmother stand straight and centered, effectively mimicking their dispositions. Hurry Up, Henry reminds readers of the gift of slowing down – perfect at this busy time of transition to the new school year.

Hurry Up, Henry

Jennifer Lanthier
Illustration EN: Isabelle Malenfant
Penguin Random House of Canada
ISBN 13: 978-0-670-06837-1

Jen Bailey
Jen Bailey Jen Bailey is an Ontario-certified teacher who holds an MFA in Writing from the Vermont College of Fine Arts. She works for the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council. Jen’s other book reviews have appeared in Quill & Quire and Canadian Children’s Book News.

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