This is a book that seems lighthearted, but it has a clear — and incredibly refreshing — agenda, offering parents a path to recovery from the current insanity. Valentine’s witty watercolors and gouache present a kind of anthology of the current vogue for extreme parenting, adding fantastic details to the already humorous story.
—The New York Times
Valentine’s (George in the Dark) cleverly composed cartooning slyly portrays how a skewed domestic dynamic rights itself…. From start to finish, it’s an irresistible story for the target audience: Henry’s assertiveness results in an epic play date, as Urban’s (Mouse Was Mad) terrific text elaborates (“They teeter-totted and monkey-barred and triumphed gloriously on the battlefield”), and his family is still at his beck and call at bedtime. Who says you can’t have it all?
—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
Striking a balance between lively and atmospheric, Valentine’s illustrations lend a depth to the lighthearted story of cosseted Henry’s insistence on independence…. Urban’s narrative tone matches the illustrative tone in its sophistication. Relatively complicated sentence structures are combined with simple ones, and the result is an energetic text. A story that humorously but gently reminds overprotective families that it is natural and necessary and healthy for a child to learn to do for himself.
A laugh-out-loud riff on “The Little Red Hen,” Valentine’s droll graphite and gouache cartoon drawings of bespectacled, redheaded Henry are irresistible…. Empty nesters, helicopter parents and siblings, and independent little ones will chuckle in recognition.
This charming story will resonate with children beginning to assert their independence.
—School Library Journal