Top critical review
5 of 5 people found this helpful
Weird and not nearly as charming as his later books
on October 7, 2014
My 3-year-old daughter and I both love several of Kevin Henkes's books (like Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse and Chrysanthemum), so when I found this at the library, I snatched it up. I didn't even look inside, because I wanted to share the experience of reading it for the first time with my daughter, just like when we read Lilly's Big Day together and both laughed hysterically.
I should have looked inside.
There are so many things to object to in this book, where do I even start? First, there's the morbid stuff: "At dinner, Sheila Rae made believe that the cherries in her fruit cocktail were the eyes of dead bears, and she ate five of them," and, "she pretended that the trees were evil creatures She climbed up them and broke their fingers off." Then there are the bad examples: She yanks her sister's toy from the mouth of the "big black dog at the end of the block" and "growled at stray dogs," which are not so much brave as dangerous. She also rides her bike no-handed with her eyes closed while her friends clap. And just to make sure we dislike Sheila Rae, I suppose, Henkes has her tie a classmate to a fence after he steals her jumprope. When did "brave" become "mean-spirited"?
If you can get past all that, the plot of the book is cute enough, and the illustrations are lovely, although not nearly as intricate as in some of Henkes's other books. But for us, we have plenty of cute books with lovely illustrations without needing dead bear eyes or really stupid behavior toward dogs.