I Am Henry Finch

illus. by Viviane Schwarz. 40p. Candlewick. 2015. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780763678128. LC 2014949717.
PreS-Gr 1—Henry Finch and his loving family—each of whom is cleverly drawn using black stick wings and legs that are appended to a bright red fingerprint—live in a tree and spend their time being exceedingly polite and obedient. Every dawn they say good morning to one another, and every night they do the opposite, each family member happily greeting the others by name. Something else happens every day, too. The Beast—a green dinosaur—comes and terrifies the finches, and they fly to the top of the nearest tree and wait for him to leave. (Observant children will notice that while he hovers, the Beast has little finch legs sticking out of his mouth.) One day, Henry decides that it's time for something different. He can be great! He flies directly toward the creature when it shows up…and is promptly eaten. While in the Beast's stomach, he hears its' thoughts about finding its food and feeding its family, and things suddenly seem a lot different. After the wily bird escapes, he returns to his family and is an inspiration to them for how things can be better. While this book might sound gruesome, it's anything but. The crisp, bright drawings will hold children's attention, and the story of things almost going all wrong before the family is shipshape again is both exciting and comforting.
VERDICT A fun, well-illustrated look at how standing up for yourself can be scary but rewarding.

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