Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Henry the Explorer by Mark Taylor, illustrated by Graham Booth

"On the night of the blizzard, Henry and Laird Angus McAngus read an exciting book about exploring. So...the next morning, after breakfast, Henry got ready to go exploring. He carefully made ready his explorer's kit. And he made a great many flags in order to claim all the wonderful things he planned to discover."

Thus begins the first Henry and Angus book, a lovely picture book series of imagination, discovery, humor, and adventure. In each story, Henry's bedtime reading provides the impetus for a grand exploration the next day. Graham Booth's illustrations show a sturdy boy, suitably clad for his various expeditions, and marvelous landscapes, full of color and mystery. My personal favorite illustration of the Henry books is Laird Angus McAngus. Looking like nothing so much as a shaggy footstool with eyes. Angus solemnly follows Henry on all his adventures, faithfully carrying the necessary little flags, with perpetual circles under his eyes. After all, living up to a boy like Henry is tiring!

If you fall in love with Angus, he has his own series, The Secret Life of Angus, where he investigates mysteries, such as The Case of the Missing Kittens.

Alas, I must admit that these books, published from the mid-60s through the 70s are out of print. But it would be well worth your while to dig through your library system and see if you have any. They are humorous and exuberantly illustrated stories of imagination, resourcefulness, and exploration! They show that reading is just the beginning of new and exciting discoveries!

Verdict: I love these books so much...but they are just not what modern kids and parents look for. The lush swirly illustrations and lengthier text are a far cry from the clean-cut pictures and brief language of the modern picture books. Find them for your own gratification, if you like this type of picture book.

ISBN: 978-1930900486; Published October 2011 by Purple House Press (this is a reprint, I'm not sure how faithful a reproduction it is, but it's in print!); Borrowed from the library; Sadly, had to weed this and other Taylor titles due to lack of circulation and general grottiness, but I took them home and added them to my personal collection, so they are still in use!

1 comment:

Tamara said...

It looks like you haven't been blogging in a few years, but I just came across your review of this book and I love it! I was just recently introduced to the book (it's been reprinted). Everything you said about it is spot on! Thanks for your insight and for mentioning the Angus series. I hope it's not too hard to find!