Saturday, November 13, 2004

Old Henry

a picture book by Joan W. Blos, illustrated by Stephen Gammell
"No one thought he meant to stay;
the house was drafty, dark and gray...."
So it was said about Henry.

Neighbors grew annoyed when Henry did nothing to fix up his house. They tried talking to him. No luck.
"Then they fined him fines. They threatened jail. They wrote him long letters and sent them by mail."
But still, "the gatepost stayed crooked, the walk stayed unswept."

Henry, too, had had enough. He decided to pack his things and leave. But in Henry's absence, old grudges and bitter resentments softened. Everyone discovered, even Henry, that no one was happy with Henry's decision to leave. Oddly enough, the misfit neighbors found themselves missing Henry as they passed his now dark and empty house. And Henry missed his home - and the neighbors, too.

In the end, Henry comes up with an idea that just might soothe everyone's hurt feelings.

I love Old Henry because it shows that everyone, no matter how different or pecular, can get along. This is a great book about accepting people's eccentricities, and learning to make compromises when it makes sense to do so.

As Old Henry's neighbors conclude by the end of the story:
"And we don't have to make such a terrible fuss because everyone isn't exactly like us."
Isn't that the truth?

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