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Henry Works (Henry)

4.19  ·  Rating Details  ·  118 Ratings  ·  25 Reviews
Without Henry, wildflowers would go unwatered in dry weather and rivers would have no crossing stones. Without him, who would bring news of coming storms?
Henry works, but no one seems to notice.
“You’re not doing anything today,” his friend says. “Come fishing with me.” “Not today,” says Henry as he digs up a healing plant for a neighbor. Though he never gets paid, Henry wo
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published August 30th 2004 by HMH Books for Young Readers
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L- Lisa
Mar 01, 2010 L- Lisa rated it really liked it
This picture book explores the world of work for writer and philosopher Henry David Thoreau. The reader shadows Henry for a full day of exploring nature as he walks to work, through town and past Walden Pond. Henry greets many townspeople during the day, including Alcott, Hawthorne and Emerson. Characters are bears, dressed in the period clothing in the 1860 town of Concord, MA. The endpapers are detailed maps of the town with Thoreau’s path mapped out. The illustrations are collage like using g ...more
Oct 27, 2008 Carolynne rated it liked it
Recommends it for: CLM, Barb
Shelves: picture-books
Extraordinary canine Henry (based on Henry David Thoreau) walks to work, but on the way waters some plants and collect others,makes crossing stones in a brook, warns a neighbor about a marauding fox, delivers mail for the limping postmaster, captures some woodchucks (from RW Emerson) and lets them out in the woods, warns Mrs. Alcott of possible rain, plants some strawberries in Hawthorne's garden, all before heading to his cabin near Walden Pond. Helps introduce Thoreau to young children.

Caitlin C
Oct 05, 2014 Caitlin C rated it really liked it
This adorable K-3 text by D. B. Johnson illustrates a day in the life of the author and transcendentalist Henry David Thoreau. Thoreau is not usually considered for his appeal to elementary school-aged children, I think largely due to the fact the subjects about which he wrote (politics, philosophy, ethics, etc) are not typically "child-oriented" topics. However, he did have play his part in 19th century American literature so he is as much a part of our history as authors who do write for child ...more
Ruth Ann
Aug 06, 2014 Ruth Ann rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-book
I loved everything about this book which introduces readers to Henry David Thoreau and his profession as a writer.
The book begins with end pages that are maps which show the location of Henry's cabin, the woods, the pond, and his friends homes (Emerson, Alcott, and Hawthorne). Throughout the story, as Henry walks to work, the reader comes to see that Henry knows much about nature and he shares his knowledge and observations with his friends.
The back of the book contains biographical information
Kayla Payton
Awards: N/A
Reading Level: 2.5
Interest Level: K-2nd Grade

This story is about the real life of Henry David Thoreau. Henry works for more than money. When his friend try's to get him to do something fun such as fishing, he refuses. He tells him that he is busy. Henry's most important work is then later on revealed.
The Book Maven
Aug 27, 2013 The Book Maven rated it liked it
What a sweet little way to introduce kids to Henry David Thoreau! I have just one question! What ambitiously idealistic parent intends to introduce their four year old to Henry David Thoreau!?!

If the author feels so strongly about Thoreau, I think his/her dedication would be better served by writing a Chapter novel for older children--then he could have fleshed out Thoreau a little more as a person, rather than reducing him to an anthropomorphic bear.

The really off-putting thing about this pict
May 05, 2014 Taryn rated it really liked it
Shelves: children-s, storybook
I love the illustrations, their unique graphic style.

I love learning about Henry David Thoreau, both through the story and the additional information at the end of the book. And it manages to teach us about Thoreau without being teachy.
Brandi Smith
Apr 15, 2012 Brandi Smith rated it really liked it
This historical fiction picturebook is intended for children ages birth to 5 years(N). The author uses a bear named Henry to represent Henry David Thorough in a way that is appropriate and accessible to very young readers.
I gave this book 4 stars. It is part of a series of books.I like the idea of infusing a real history lesson into a work of fiction so that young children can begin to gather historical information. I was inspired with two ideas for activities while reading this book. One idea w
Angie Quantrell
Jul 25, 2016 Angie Quantrell rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
Loved this story. Wasn't expecting it to be about Henry David Thoreau, as the MC is an animal! But I loved it!
We'll cheerfully and eagerly read any more Henry books Johnson cares to write.

If I were a real critic, I'd have something more to say about this. But I don't. Bear? Dog? It's fun either way.
Nov 28, 2011 Dolly rated it liked it
Recommends it for: parents reading with their children
This is another interesting tale about Henry David Thoreau in the series featuring a bear named Henry. The illustrations are colorful and the narrative is short. It helps to explain a little of Henry's Transcendentalist thinking in a way that children can easily understand. We really enjoyed reading this story together and I love sharing a bit of the history of the area near where my hubby and I grew up.
Jeana Wert
Oct 13, 2013 Jeana Wert rated it really liked it
Shelves: ch-02-ncss
After reading Henry Works, i want to read more books by this author. I really enjoyed it and i thought it was very appropriate for young children because it contains a lot of lessons. I liked that on every page, there was a black and white image of Henry above or below the words on the page. I really liked that Henry was doing different things to help, whether it was watering flowers, or telling people it was going to storm. It was a cute book.
Kristin Hamley
Jan 15, 2013 Kristin Hamley rated it really liked it
Shelves: kids-books
Sweet, gentle book about a bear, based on Henry David Thoreau, who walks to work. By the end, he has been helpful to the other animals and plants around him and has returned home to write. Very sweet -- some of its loveliness feels lost on my kids, but it feels worth reintroducing as they mature into thoughts of the authors who write their books.
Mar 12, 2010 Q_Barb rated it really liked it
Shelves: award-winners
Interesting.The fourth in a series by Johnson on Henry David Thoreau, the illustrations are particularly interesting and unique Why a bear I don't know. But great use of timeline,etc. I can't remember the Picasso timeline or period, but here are definitely nuances of that period.
Robert Farmer
Nov 19, 2013 Robert Farmer rated it really liked it
Shelves: ncss
This was a good book based off of Henry David Thorough. It teaches kids his type of thinking and good lessons but in a simplified way. The art was interesting and not overdone but was well suited for this book. This would be a good book for all children to read.
Nov 23, 2013 Tracy rated it it was amazing
D.B. Johnson you are a man after my own heart! The fact that you even know what a comfrey root looks like, the fact that Henry walks through the woods, waters milkweeds, finds huckleberries. Plus I still love your illustrations. I want to be Henry.
Jan 02, 2010 Natalie rated it really liked it
Shelves: children-s
D.B. Johnson's illustrations are captivating: they remind me of angular shards or reality, like memories. I love the Henry series, based on the life of Henry David Thoreau. Our 3-year old loves these too, and the ones with the CD have gotten a lot of use.
Mary Crytzer
Oct 18, 2013 Mary Crytzer rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ch-02-ncss
I enjoyed reading this book. I was anxious to find out where Henry worked, which we eventually do. The art work was a bit different in that with some pages Henry was black and white while everything else had color. In some other pages he was in color.
Korinne Sackela
Oct 12, 2013 Korinne Sackela rated it liked it
Shelves: ch-02-ncss
It was a cute way to introduce something that could be taught as a lesson in class. Given that it's a true story,I think kids would like it. It also makes it more fun that the characters are animals in the book as opposed to their human selves. Really cute!
Ryan Miller
Jul 13, 2012 Ryan Miller rated it really liked it
This picture book wonderfully redefines the nature of work, from the perspective of a writer (specifically Thoreau). For emerging writers, "Henry Works" can offer inspiration for how to develop ideas and gain experiences that can lead to interesting writing.
D.B. Johnson's "Henry" picture books are a perfect introduction for young readers to Henry David Thoreau and the ideas he shared in his book "Walden."
Mar 24, 2009 Kelly rated it it was amazing
Inspirational to this writer. Henry the bear leaves home and takes a walk, interacting with friends and nature, in order to come home and start writing.
The Styling Librarian
Jan 24, 2012 The Styling Librarian rated it it was amazing
I love every "Henry" book by D.B. Johnson celebrating life and connection to nature.
Nov 21, 2012 Judy rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Children in grades 1 through 5
A delightful tale of a remarkably considerate bear who thinks of the needs of others.
Nov 04, 2008 Leah rated it it was amazing
Henry Works by D.B. Johnson (2004)
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Other Books in the Series

Henry (5 books)
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  • Henry Builds a Cabin
  • Henry Climbs a Mountain
  • Henry's Night

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