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Author: Donna Love

Illustrator: Christina Ward

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Publisher: Sylvan Dell Publishing,

Material: hard cover

Summary: Henry is a young heron. He's also a very fidgety, always stepping on his brother's and sister's head in the nest. For months now, his mother has brought food to the nest to feed him. Now, he must go out on his own. Every time he tries to grab something to eat from the water, his meal escapes. The harder he tries, the hungrier he gets. When Henry runs into The Great Blue Heron, he learns a valuable lesson. This picture book wraps life lessons around factual information about Great Blue Herons.

Type of Reading: bedtime story, family reading, playtime reading, read aloud book

Recommended Age: read together: 5 to 8; read yourself: 9 to 12

Interest Level: 4 to 8

Reading Level: 4.9

Age of Child: Read with 7-year-old girl.

Young Reader Reaction: We have read this book several times, and each time we pick it up, our daughter announces (unprompted) that she is not like Henry. Then she wants to read it again.

Adult Reader Reaction: Every parent and child can relate to Henry's predicament. Sometimes the harder we try, the less likely it seems that we'll reach our goal. The facts about Great Blue Herons are more subtle than other Sylvan Dell books, but the material at the back makes up for that. The illustrations are beautiful and add a lot of context to the story.

Pros: Children will see themselves in Henry and enjoy this story of discovery and growth.

Cons: None.

Borrow or Buy: Borrow. This is a lovely story with beautiful pictures. It would be well suited for the public library or elementary school audience.


Educational Themes: Some of the themes discussed in the extra material are not raised in the story (e.g., wetlands conservation). The publisher has done an exceptional job linking them to the book and adding value for readers.

Notes: Flesch Kincaid reading level 4.9

Literary Categories: Fiction - picture book, animal characters, nature, life lessons

Date(s) Reviewed: March 2009

Other Reviews: See Critics' Reviews and reader feedback at; and feedback at


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