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Henry Builds a Cabin
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Henry Builds a Cabin


4.10  ·  Rating details ·  273 ratings  ·  35 reviews
The Barnes & Noble Review
Thoreau for the kiddie set? Definitely. Author and illustrator D. B. Johnson revives the 19th-century writer's desire to live a simple life with this brilliant picture book starring one determined bear. Henry the bear wants to build a cabin in the woods. As he gathers his materials and begins his project, friends stop by and offer him advice.
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published February 26th 2002 by HMH Books for Young Readers
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Although Henry Builds a Cabin provides a generally decent enough general introduction to Henry David Thoreau for younger children, and while I do appreciate both D. B. Johnson's text (his presented story) and the accompanying illustrations, I personally would definitely have very much preferred it, had Henry NOT been depicted as a bear, but as a person (as Henry David Thoreau the man, and not as Henry the bear); I am simply not all that much of a fan of anthropomorphic animals, especially in ...more
Sep 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I love all the Henry books. I think Johnson captures the essence of what the Transcendentalists, especially Thoreau, were striving for.

Henry Builds a Cabin is probably not my very favorite, because I just wince every time I read about him cutting down those trees. And of course winter in Massachusetts is long. And I know from other readings that Henry did spend a fair bit of time visiting (mooching off) friends in town. But still, the main concept of the book, that living simply & w/ thrift,
Apr 02, 2009 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: parents reading with their children
We've read Henry Hikes to Fitchburg and Henry Climbs a Mountain by D.B. Johnson, both of which tell anecdotes about Henry David Thoreau.

This book is all about his book, Walden, or Life in the Woods, when he spent two years living in a cabin he built himself beside Walden Pond.

I finally finished that book this year and was excited that our library had a copy of this book, so I could share a little bit of the story with them.

We really enjoyed reading this story together and I love sharing a bit
Nov 21, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
Henry decides to build a cabin in the woods by a pond. As he is building, each of his friends stop by offering their advice and help, as friends often do. This is a beautifully illustrated book and has a wonderful message. The most fascinating part though came after reading the book and finding the authors note that the book was based off of the life of the author Henry David Thoreau. There were some wonderful details about how much it cost Thoreau to build his cabin and would make for some fun ...more
I liked this story quite a bit and it has several angles that could be discussed or could be the source of teaching points. Henry is, of course, Henry David Thoreau although he and the other characters are portrayed by bears. (I love the illustrations so I, personally, like his portrayal as a bear.) Henry is building a very small home with the help of his friends. They are concerned about how small it is...but he points out where his library and ballroom and dining room will be (all outside in ...more
Kaethe Douglas
I don't have any idea why Johnson made Thoreau a bear (or a dog, whatever). It's an odd choice. But it works. Of course, Johnson doesn't mention that the land belongs to Emerson, and that Thoreau went home for dinner every day, but it's still great. Unless you were Thoreau's mom. Then, no doubt, you just wish he'd grow up and move out for good.

Anyway, the art is fabulous, and it's a fun book for the eco-conscious among the young set, as well as for young lovers of nonfiction. And for cranky
Aug 23, 2016 rated it it was ok
I love the literary names of the bears, and after reading the author's note I understand why they are names as such! I though this was a cute story, and possibly a good introduction to small children if you were going to discuss Thoreau or Walden. I suppose the best "financial" related information is the quote at the end of the author's note from Thoreau about a house being a simple thing and not trying to keep up with your neighbors. Not my favorite story, but cute nonetheless.
Feb 29, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: pbf-mammals
I really liked the illustrations, and I was not really put off by the famous people imagined as bears. Perhaps the illustrator thought this representation would be more appealing to young children. I liked the way he depicted rain--with the picture cut into panels that don't fit exactly together. This book doesn't touch much on financial education, apart from recycling and being frugal.
Dec 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: teaching-reading
“Henry Builds a Cabin” by D.B. Johnson, published by Houghton Mifflin Company; copyright 2002

1. Awards: No awards.
2. Appropriate grade level: K-2nd grade
3. Summary: This story tells the tale of Henry the bear who builds himself a cabin in the woods. Although his friends think his house is too small, he thinks it’s just right.
4. Review: This book is very cute and includes very nice illustrations. I think the backstory given at the end gives insight to Henry’s actions. The bear is a
Mary Borgese
Nov 13, 2013 rated it really liked it
Henry Builds a Cabin is a great picture book for older readers to learn about both nature and history. The book reflects the life of the author Henry David Thoreau, who lived a simple, natural life by taking advantage of the world around him. D.B Johnson writes about a bear who decides one day to build a cabin. Throughout Henry's construction, his neighbors stop by, one by one, to give him advice on what he needs to include in his cabin. They mention a space to dance, a spot to read, and a large ...more
Sep 27, 2016 rated it really liked it
"Most men appear never to have considered what a house is, and are actually needlessly poor all their lives because they think they must have such a one as their neighbors have." Thoreau as quoted by D. B. Johnson in his explanation "About Henry's Cabin."

I am very taken with D. B. Johnson's artwork. His illustrations are quirky, inviting, and lovely to behold. And Henry David Thoreau in the form of a bear is quite delightful! Thoreau certainly followed a precept that is being reintroduced, the
Dec 11, 2011 added it
Henry is a bear who decides to build a cabin in the woods by a pond. He is very detailed in his building plans. As he builds his house he puts on a front door, windows, and a roof. As he is building his house his friends stop by to see how he is doing. Henry plans for his house to be a small because he also has the outside to do things.

This is a great picture book for children in 4th grade. The pictures are really detailed and funny. The book has a great meaning of sometimes the small things
Nov 22, 2008 rated it really liked it
I had no idea what this book was, and I wish I had. It was good, to begin with, but I probably would have waited until I was more prepared to have a good discussion about it. This is a children's version of Walden's Pond. Henry is a bear who builds a cabin by a pond. His friends keep asking him if it will be sufficient, and of course he assures them it will, and he is right. It was a fine book for little kids, but I do wish I had known. Now you will.
Apr 12, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: k-g-4
I like the complete series of Henry (Thoreau) children's books by D.B. Johnson. I think Thoreau is much nicer as a bear. The books capture key points from <>i Walden in an entertaining way for young and very old (grandparents) children.

Age Range: 4 - 7 years
Grade Level: Preschool - 3
Lexile Measure: 170
Nov 21, 2012 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Children in grades 1 through 5
The text of the book is great, and leads naturally to a discussion of material goods. The last drawing, however, is a little disturbing, because it shows Henry being too large to fit in the cabin at all. I would have liked to see Henry asleep in his bed inside the cabin, which would have made it clear why Henry needed a cabin at all.
Feb 23, 2011 rated it really liked it
Henry the bear in this story and subsequent stories is Henry David Thoreau. The author took inspiration from Thoreau's, " Walden". When my son picked a few of these up, we had no idea. It was a nice surprise and led to a great discussion on Thoreau. The illustrations are charming. I'm not sure how or why he chose a bear to portray Thoreau, but it works.
Destiny Dawn Long
I love the Henry books. They're based on the life of Henry David Thoreau and have all sorts of fun little details in their illustrations. This volume details the building of his cabin at Walden Pond. It's a great chance to teach children about how houses got built. It also opens opportunities to discuss materialism.
Feb 24, 2016 rated it really liked it
Simple, yet effective prose and great illustrations. I didn't realize it was about Henry David Thoreau until I read the info at the end and kids probably won't care about that, but I found that interesting. I think this will be a great book to use in my next storytime--I'll it and then the kids will get to build something with keva planks!
Oct 16, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: picture-books
I feel sad because I was so excited to read this book (maybe I just got my hopes up too high?) but I was not impressed. I felt like it was difficult for my children to relate to the story line and the illustrations.
Jul 28, 2013 rated it really liked it
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." The books also offer plenty to think about and discuss, like how big does a home really need to be?
Apr 06, 2015 rated it really liked it
This series by D.B. Johnson is a wonderful way to introduce children to Henry David Thoreau. The illustrations are fun and bright and we've learned a lot about his life and philosophies. Very conducive to conversation.
Ruth Ann
Sep 21, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: classic, picture-book
Henry, a bear based upon Henry David Thoreau, builds a small cabin with the help of his friends. In doing so, he spends very little by recycling used windows and materials. This book makes the reader reconsider what makes a home and what size is really sufficient.
Aug 12, 2009 rated it liked it
I love this series. Henry is a wise, wonderful character. What a great way to introduce history, social consciousness and a love of nature to children!
Jun 17, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: picture-book
Picasso teddy bear picture book version of Henry David Thoreau's Walden. ?? A little jarring at first, the cubist illustrations, but it grew on me.
Apr 06, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: teaching
Another book to help show how research and historical information can improve creative writing.
Sep 06, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kids-books
The bear in this book is Henry David Thoreau. This is the story of him building his cabin. The illustrations are lovely with many animals and plants to talk about as a sidebar.
Nov 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Well, my Dad would have loved this book. All the recycling of building material. That was his thing. I liked it too.
Sweet's Family Bookshelves
May 15, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: library
I personally liked the story of Henry building his own cabin. As a grownup I got the connection to Henry Thoreau. My kids less so. But it was still a good read.
Buxmont Uu
Aug 31, 2014 added it
Shelves: re-library, lwgu
Laura Hodgins
Nov 27, 2016 rated it really liked it
Thoreau is a dog but otherwise a nice snippet of Thoreau's life as an introduction to a youngster. Emerson and Alcott even show up.
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