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The Picture Book Buzz

Make A Wish, Henry Bear - Perfect Picture Book Friday #PPBF

Can you ever get too much of a good thing? Do all wishes necessarily turn out badly in the end? Is there always a price to be paid for "magic"?

Even though it's hard to imagine ever getting sick of chocolate (or gelato), I suppose if I ate it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner EVERY day, it might (eventually) loose it's appeal. And as many kids have discovered (for instance, in Home Alone, Jimmy Neutron, and Freaky Friday) the lack of rules and parental guidance isn't all it's cracked up to be - at least after a while.

Liam Francis Walsh has created a sure to please picture book that looks at the consequences of a wish that "parents were more fun." [Come on, be honest. Who didn't wish that, at least once, when they were younger?]

Make a Wish, Henry Bear

Author/Illustrator: Liam Francis Walsh

Publisher: Roaring Brook Press (2019)

Ages: 3-6



Wishes, role reversals, consequences, and friendship.


New Yorker cartoonist Liam Francis Walsh's Make a Wish, Henry Bear is the story of a young bear, a birthday wish gone awry, and a new friendship to set things right.

Henry Bear has very unusual parents.

They encourage him to stay up all night, eat chocolate cake at every meal, and get into trouble with his teacher.

But what happens when Henry Bear grows tired of indulging in childish things? Find out in this droll tale about making wishes with unanticipated consequences.

Opening Lines:

It was the night before Henry Bear's birthday. He pulled the covers up to his nose and reached over to switch off the light.

"Can't you stay up a little bit longer?" asked Mama Bear.

"Just ten more minutes," begged Papa Bear. "Pleeeeease?"

Henry got out of bed with a sigh. "Fine," he said. "Ten more minutes, but that's all."

What I Liked about this book:

We've all heard the saying "Be careful what you wish for." Well, Henry Bear learns what this means - the hard way. When he wished his parents would be more fun on his last birthday, chaos took over his house.

In perfect kid-like voices, the parents beg Henry to stay up for just ten more minutes and ride bikes late on a school night. And what kid wouldn't want to eat chocolate cake (or insert favorite treat) for every meal and skip school to lounge in pajamas and watch TV? I just love the reversal of roles.

Text & Image © Liam Francis Walsh, 2019.

However having "fun" parents makes him tired, repeatedly late for school, and grumpy. When he meets a new bear, Marjani, he lays out his plan to wish his parents back to normal and invites her over to his house for his birthday celebration.

Text & Image © Liam Francis Walsh, 2019.

Unfortunately, Henry's mother decides to make a bowl of candy, instead of a cake, for dinner. Definitely, not conducive to birthday candles. Now what will Henry do? The next spread, of a depressed Henry imagining his city drowning in sugar and flooded with chocolate, is truly delightful. Fortunately, Marjani doesn't come to Henry's party empty handed and she helps Henry get things back to normal.

Text & Image © Liam Francis Walsh, 2019.

Liam's bright colors, playful characters (sightseeing penguins!), and gorgeous town, filled with cobblestone streets and old tiled roof buildings (based on a town in Switzerland), create the perfect complement to this fun tale. This is sure to appeal to any kid who wished his/her parents were more fun. And, I agree with the Kirkus review, that "Readers will hope to see more of Henry Bear."


- what would you wish for, if you knew it for sure would be granted? Now, write a story or draw a picture of how that wish could go wrong;

- create your own story of how a wish made things worse, or maybe better; or

- does every action have a consequence? Make a chart of the consequences of various actions.

If you missed Liam Walsh's interview on Monday, find it (here).

This post is part of a series by authors and KidLit bloggers called Perfect Picture Book Fridays. For more picture book suggestions see Susanna Leonard Hill's Perfect Picture Books.

Maria Marshall

 Photograph © A. Marshall

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