Henry Turnip by Chloe Jasmine Harris
Walker Books, 2020. ISBN: 9781760651114.
(Age: 4+) Highly recommended. Henry just loves routine. He has seven pairs of blue striped overalls waiting to be worn; he eats the same breakfast each day, reads about the ocean and watches television shows about the sea and its creatures. He finds his classroom too noisy, his classmates too loud, and he hates the mess they all leave. He never joins in when they play in the playground, preferring to read by himself.
But one day, adventurous Reuben Moon arrives and does all the things that Henry does not do: hanging from the branch, shouting, running and jumping, and he asks Henry to join him. Henry tries things he has never tried before and finds it to his liking. He tries the slippery slide, flying and jumping in puddles. He is able to share the things he likes with Reuben, and together they go on adventures and read stories. Henry now has a range of coloured overalls, and reads about space and animals other than those that live in the sea. He doesn't even worry if things get a little noisy or perhaps a bit messy, and he loves sharing his days with Reuben, his friend.
The detailed watercolour illustrations are packed with interest and variety, sure to attract the reader as they follow Henry's story of gaining a friend. In doing this, Henry's life is enriched with other experiences: he is able to accommodate other people's interests and behaviours, he can modify his own behaviour and accept that not everyone is the same. Friendship widens children's perspectives, it allows them to see what other people do within the safety of their classroom or friendship group. Henry's life is enriched through friendship and even though he finds some things difficult, he is able to cope and adapt.
This charming story will enable children to laugh at Henry and his routines but smile with him as he widens his experiences of life after gaining a friend. Themes: Animals, Humour, Read a loud, Friendship, School, Play.