New Review Tuesday: Hooray for Henkes!
In my mind, a new Kevin Henkes book is cause for celebration. So I'm throwing a party, and you're invited—along with Owen, Lily, Chrysanthemum, Kitten, and the rest of Henkes' gang of memorable characters.
The guest of honor is Old Bear, whose story Henkes tells in his newest picture book. Old Bear has been around the block more than a few times. He's sleepy, he's tired, and during the long winter, he dreams of his cub days. Old Bear's dreaming is at the heart of the story, and Henkes dazzles with his poetic language and images, which take us through the four seasons: "Then he dreamed that it was summer. The sun was a daisy, and the leaves were butterflies. Part of the sky clouded over, and it rained blueberries."
The tale ends with Old Bear waking for another spring, and it "takes him a minute to realize that he isn't dreaming."
What a wonderful way for kids in grades K–2 to talk about hibernation, the four seasons, and life cycles. Teachers in the older grades would do well to use Henkes' powerful metaphors and images as examples in writing workshop.
I think this might be my favorite Henkes books yet. What's yours?