Here is a book I saw in a bookstore and just could not physically resist. It makes me hurt, it’s so pretty. So even though I’m not sure a 2-year-old has any concept of what it is to have a crush on someone (as soon as I typed that I could think of three different people I’m sure Harper has crushes on so actually never mind) I got this for Harper, and, satisfyingly enough, it’s been a big hit.
The very sweet kind-of-non-story of a little kitty and the little bunny he loves is illustrated by the loveliest, spare, vividly-colored drawings. I’m a big fan of Peter McCarty’s illustrations, although I have to admit Harper runs hot and cold on his stories. She loved the soothing Hondo and Fabian, but she yells “No bunny book!” when I try to read Bunny on the Move. What gives? Anyway, she loves Henry in Love, especially the pages where Chloe (the beloved one) is doing cartwheels and running around.
Other than the heart-stoppingly-pretty illustrations, it took me a while to pinpoint just what was so great about this book, but I finally got it. Harper loves going over Henry’s classmate’s names and discussing what they all play at recess and have for snack. There may not be much a story arc here, but the text tells the story of a day the way a small child experiences it. They aren’t yet hung up on whether, say, Henry and Chloe go to the senior prom together, or whether they grow as characters or achieve their goals, the way we adults have been trained to read and tell and experience stories. When Harper tells a “story,” it’s about what happened, who was there, and of course, what they had for a snack. Just like Henry in Love!
I would give this book as a Valentine’s Day present to a kid I loved or even an artsy adult. It’s really just so sweet. I just pictured selling this book at a stoop sale when Harper’s ten or whatever and sick of it and I almost cried.