Monday, June 22, 2015

Book review: Henry Hodges Needs a Friend by Andy Andrews

"Henry Hodges Needs a Friend" by Andy Andrews is a fun children's book that will entertain a wide variety of young children with its rhymes and illustrations, though its intended message may miss the mark a little. Henry is a lonely, little boy whose parents decide to help by finding him a pet. His imagination runs wild as he imagines what kind of "one-of-a-kind" pet his parents have in mind. A trip to the shelter later, we meet Hap and they live happily ever after.

The illustrations, imagination, and rhyming lilt of this book are all enjoyable and I had fun reading it to my son. However, the implications of the story never quite sat right with me. First, Henry really has no friends that are willing to make the drive down his long, dead-end street to see him? Just because friends don't live nearby doesn't mean you don't have friends. Also, it just seems wrong to me to imply that a pet can take the place of a human friend. I'm glad to see adopting pets from the shelter promoted but there's something to be said also of learning to overcome our loneliness and boredom and learn to be a friend and make friends.

Saying that Henry needed his "one-of-a-kind" friend just like the reader's friends need them makes me feel like I'm being compared to a dog. So while the composition and illustration of this book is bright and engaging, I think I'll be taking the opportunity to discuss the issues further when we read this book in the future.

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars.

Soli Deo Gloria,

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers <> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”