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Henry's Night Hardcover – April 6, 2009


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 2
  • Series: Henry
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers; First Edition edition (April 6, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 054705663X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0547056630
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 10.9 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #289,978 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Kindergarten-Grade 3—As in four previous books, Henry is a placid, thoughtful bear inspired by the 19th-century naturalist Henry David Thoreau. Unable to sleep for the noises in the village, he begins a moonlit walk in search of a whippoorwill. He takes his night collecting jar, which he fills with fireflies to illuminate his path, and then with tadpoles, wiggling in luminous water. He hears the songs of a nighthawk, a pumper bird, and an owl as he walks deeper into the woods. Journal entries record his progress hour by hour, and small drawings of field crickets, porcupines, red foxes, and raccoons document other woodland creatures. He runs through the rain and makes a raft on the shore of a fog-covered lake. As a whippoorwill perches on his hat and sings, he feels "the beat of its bird heart." In a dreamlike ending, Henry falls into the early morning of his room and hears "Whip-poor-will, whip-poor-will, whip-poor-will" coming from his jar. Then he sleeps. The nocturnal hues, luminous highlights, and gently skewed perspectives of Johnson's mixed-media illustrations are a fine balance to the smaller, realistic line drawings in the diary entries tucked on the side of each spread. Rich in sounds and sensory details, the book will make youngsters feel as though they have shared this moonlight walk with Thoreau himself.—Mary Jean Smith, Southside Elementary School, Lebanon, TN
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Johnson’s fifth book revolving around the ideas of Henry David Thoreau takes place at night, as Henry the bear writes in his journal, “I cannot sleep.” So begins a twilight journey that brings Henry into the forest in search of “the one who sings the song of night.” Guided by his jar of fireflies—which sparkles in beautiful white light—Henry discovers many plants and animals, jotting sketches and diagrams in the margins of the journal pages positioned on each two-page spread. The muted colors and hazy shapes probably won’t suit large groups, but the lulling text makes this ideal material for bedtime stragglers. Preschool-Grade 2. --Daniel Kraus

More About the Author

D.B. Johnson, one reviewer has written, "has brought down the curtain on the static picture book for children. With the recent publication of his Mother Nature Rhymes (iPad only for now), [Johnson] has singlehandedly transformed the picture book into a dynamic event. From now on, if it isn't interactive and doesn't have multimedia (animation and audio at least) as an ePub publication, it is just too too old hat. There are picture books aplenty with animation and audio today, but they must run inside dedicated apps which cost thousands of dollars to produce. [Johnson] has created an ePUb-formatted eBook that any writer or illustrator can assemble on their own with no greater cost than the software tools they are already using, plus an understanding of HTML5 and CSS--open-source web programming tools that are easy to learn. Authors can now independently and economically produce finished products and sell them directly to their readers. Mother Nature Rhymes consists of 15 two-page spreads, with an original rhyme on one page and an illustration on the facing page. Gentle sound effects accompany the gentle animations, as birds and butterflies fly between the pages, a robin on a swing is wooed by a red-eyed virago, and other aural and visual treats delight your little ones as you read them to sleep."
D. B. Johnson's most recent print book, Magritte's Marvelous Hat, was inspired by the work of Belgian surrealist painter René Magritte and is filled with Magritte-like word puzzles and impossible pictures that will spark the imagination of both children and adults. The book includes four overlay pages that transform the pictures as the page is turned. In a starred review, School Library Journal says of Magritte's Marvelous Hat..."The artist's fascination with the limits of perception and two-dimensional representation provides mind-boggling images that children will relish. Johnson's additional layer of a hide-and-seek game and the inclusion of his own tricks offer more reasons to look closely. An author's note gives a brief context. Moving back and forth between this book and Magritte's art would be instructive and enjoyable for puzzle enthusiasts of any age. Beckoning, buoyant...brilliant."

D. B. Johnson's goal with each of his picture books is to draw children to the complex ideas in great works of literature and art. His first illustrated children's book, Henry Hikes to Fitchburg (Houghton Mifflin 2000), introduced one of his most endearing characters: Henry the bear. Henry is based on Henry David Thoreau, a nineteenth-century writer and philosopher who advocated a simple way of life, unencumbered by material possessions. Winner of several prestigious awards, Henry Hikes to Fitchburg "works on several levels," according to Booklist. "Johnson's adaptation of a paragraph taken from Thoreau's Walden ... illuminates the contrast between materialistic and naturalistic views of life without ranting or preaching."

In a starred review of the fifth book in his Henry series, Kirkus wrote: "From Henry Hikes to Fitchburg (2000) on, Johnson has surpassed all conventional biographers in presenting Thoreau's philosophy and spirit in ways that will make sense to younger readers." Henry's Night is ..."a great bedtime read, as mysterious and thought-provoking as a zen koan."

In addition to his "Henry" books, Johnson has also created several other characters that have engaged young readers. In Eddie's Kingdom a young artist (inspired by the Quaker folk painter, Edward Hicks) draws a picture he hopes will bring an end to all the arguments he hears from the tenants sharing his apartment building. Another original picture book, Four Legs Bad, Two Legs Good!, takes place on a falling-down farm where Farmer Orvie, a pig, spends too much time napping to keep things in proper order. With simplicity and humor, Johnson adds a lively new chapter to George Orwell's classic, Animal Farm. And his 2010 picture book, Palazzo Inverso, introduced children to the topsy-turvy world of Dutch artist M. C. Escher. With what Booklist lauded as "an undeniably impressive bit of optical trickery," readers turned the book upside-down at the end and read all the way back to the beginning in an endless Escher-loop.

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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I definitely recommend this book to any nature lover who is around children.
Lover of Books
I'm always amazed by authors who can combine an entertaining children's story with an underlying message, and that's what D.B. Johnson has done in all the Henry books.
J. Martin
The Henry series is a fabulous collection of books that chronicles Henry David Thoreau's work.
JS

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Lise Miller on January 20, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Not only is this book beautiful and fun -- like all D.B. Johnson's and Linda Michelin's books -- it's also deeply moving. On first reading it's a nighttime quest through the forest looking for an elusive bird. And what kid hasn't fantasized about crawling out of bed at night and exploring the woods?! On second reading I was struck by how profound the message was: Although the call of your SOUL may be hard to hear at times, following it with an adventurous spirit will lead you to breathtaking sights and *true* happiness. Ah, Henry, you are a messenger for our times! Thank you, D.B. Johnson and Linda Michelin, for giving our kids (and US) a Thoreau who is political, passionate, playful, and now...mystical.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Thomas Quale on April 22, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I cherish every one of D. B. Johnson's peerless "Henry" books and am very happy to see him in action again. Johnson's wonderful bear-avatar of Henry David Thoreau takes a dream-like walk through the night woods he explored by day in Henry Works--a night full of wonder and mystery but no scares. There is a soft-edged glow to Johnson's beautiful illustrations, giving us the gold of the going-down sun, lightning bugs in a jar and the full moon shining through trees. The harder edges and bright colors of the earlier Henry books are softened and muted throughout, capturing mist, moonlight and cloud. A welcome addition to my little stack of "Henry" books. I recommend, of course, buying them all.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By J. Martin on April 21, 2009
Format: Hardcover
We love all the Henry series, but this one has become my 4-yr-old son's favorite. He loves the fireflies. I'm always amazed by authors who can combine an entertaining children's story with an underlying message, and that's what D.B. Johnson has done in all the Henry books.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Lover of Books on April 29, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Mr. Johnson and Ms. Michelin have done a fantastic job incorporating nature into this book and making it a good adventure as well. It doesn't drag out long but keeps moving at a great pace. I loved being able to spot the creatures that were on the side of the page in the picture. It was a very participatory book. The pictures were gorgeous and only helped the story come to life even more. This is one good illustrator.

My son kept asking me questions about each animal. It was a lot of fun to read. The fact that it is inspired by Henry David Thoreau made it even more fun for me. I have studied some of his work and found this book extremely fascinating and a good way to start looking at the world around us. I definitely recommend this book to any nature lover who is around children. This is a good book to use in the classroom as well. Henry is a great bear and I would love to read more of his adventures.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Dale G. Copps on December 5, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Full Disclosure: D.B. Johnson is a friend of mine. We have coffee at our favorite hangout once a week or so. That said, let me objectively state that Johnson has "re-imagined" one of our country's greatest philosophers and presented Henry David Thoreau's most important messages to our children in five books (so far) that are as beautiful, well written, and timely as any collection of picture books one could imagine.

Thoreau's lessons about how to live the good life are charmingly conveyed without a hint of didacticism. Henry's Night, the latest, is a dreamy bedtime story that immerses the reader in nature, a nature that has never been more threatened than it is today, a nature we cannot live without. For the evocative text in this Henry volume, Johnson was most ably assisted by Linda Michelin.

The artistic style Johnson displays over the five books is as unique as any artist's working today and is perfectly attuned to his subject matter. Why the Caldecott committee has failed to acknowledge this so far is a mystery to me.

Be sure to have a look at the video Johnson produced for Henry's Night. It is on YouTube.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on June 18, 2009
Format: Hardcover
D.B. Johnson and Linda Michelin's HENRY'S NIGHT tells of a boy who is seeking the whippoorwill, the bird nobody ever sees. Each time he draws near the bird stops singing and flees - where will it lead him? Moonlight comes to life in this gentle nature story told in the first-person.
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