Saturday, November 10, 2012

Picture Books -- Day 9

Since Diane posted about one of her favorite Kevin Henkes books yesterday, I thought I would share my favorite today.  Let me start by saying, Kevin Henkes is a genius.  I've never met him, but I have proof:  Kitten's First Full Moon, Chrysanthemum, Little White Rabbit, My Garden, Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse, Penny and Her Doll.  Genius.  But, of all  his books, my favorite is Owen.

Owen has a fuzzy yellow blanket that he takes everywhere with him until his nosy neighbor, Mrs. Tweezers, interferes.  She thinks he is "getting a little old be carrying that thing around," and so, on her advice, Owen's parents try to get him to give the fuzzy yellow blanket up.  After several failed attempts -- the blanket fairy, the vinegar trick, saying "no" -- his mother comes up with a solution that makes everyone happy.

Henkes uses single and multi-panel illustrations to show action and to capture Owen's personality, creating a perfectly-paced story.  Family dynamics are spot-on, both in the text and the pictures.  Owen is at the center of the story with the adults seen from his point-of-view.  His parents are clearly on his side as seen in the hint of worry on his mother's face when she has to say, "no" and the look of horror from his dad as Owen's mother cuts the blanket.  Even Mrs. Tweezers, seen peeking around and whispering over the fence, is redeemed when at the end of the story, Owen happily waves to her, letting the reader know that all is well.

Owen was a Caldecott Honor book as well as a Boston Globe-Horn Book Honor book.

by Kevin Henkes
published by Greenwillow Books
September 1993

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