FeaturedPicture Books

Henry Wondered

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A delightful tale following a little quail in New Mexico as he grapples with jealousy and accepting himself.

Education meets entertainments in this children's tale centered around birds. This biology based book follows a a covey of quails in the Rio Grande bosque. Budding ornithologists will obsess over this adorable tale. This avian adventure follows Henry, a quail looking to catch the attention of Gloria, as he competes with newcomer, flamboyant Federico.


Federico is loud, slightly obnoxious and is the children's book version of Rico Suave. He thinks he is all that and a bag of chips. Unfortunately, he doesn't know the difference between flamingo and flamenco. The lady quails don't seem to notice or care. They are mesmerized by his dancing. Poor Henry feels invisible and unworthy of Gloria's attention. He heads off to try and discover ways to impress his love. He hopes to dance like the blue-footed booby, or change his hair like a grey-crowned crane. But Gloria still notices Henry and after deciding to ask Federico with help learning the flamenco, all the quail are having a fabulous dance party and Henry's heart is full and happy.


Henry's friend Ernesto is the comic relief of the book, a goofy, wise-cracking side character who always has a corny joke. Ernesto really could, and should, have his own series with a more humorous flair.


This book was filled with vivid illustrations by Kim Sponaugle that looked like a beautiful mix of watercolor and oil pastels. They were eye-catching and vibrant. Despite having cartoon-style faces, the birds and scenery were all drawn very realistically. She made the wildlife and beauty of the landscape come alive.


The prose was simple, the story was easy to follow and moved at a quick pace, and wrapped up with a fun ending. These are all important elements to keep young readers engaged. I love the theme of jealousy being explored, which is so important to discuss with young readers. Children experience jealousy with siblings and friends so they can easily connect to Henry's emotions in this book. Social-emotional themes in children's fiction are crucial ways to teach valuable life lessons. But this book also had a strong element of science and had an educational twist there too. There was a glossary of terms in the back telling readers all about the unknown vocabulary they may have encountered during the text. A special treat was hidden in the author's note at the very end, where the author explained her inspiration for this book came from her own childhood confusion over flamenco and flamingo, as well as nature in her native state of New Mexico.


A must have for classroom science libraries, social-emotional bookshelves and families.

Reviewed by

Daniele's travels have taken her around the world and back again, but her favorite adventures will always be found between the covers of a good book. She is now a farm girl with her horse trainer husband. Daniele loves all things Outlander and Disney and can't grow a garden to save her life.

Synopsis

Somewhere in the bosque, in the open spaces near the Rio Grande, lives a covey of quail . . . In this episode, Henry wonders about many things. In particular, how to impress his first crush! When a handsome roo enters the picture, all seems doomed. Will Federico, a stranger and self-proclaimed talented flamingo dancer, foil Henry’s plan to impress Gloria? Follow Henry as he discovers the wonder of serendipity.

About the author

After retiring, Hazel Pacheco discovered a new passion--writing. Since her home is in New Mexico, you won’t find her taking long walks along the beach, but she does have plenty of sandy paths to walk in her native Land of Enchantment. That is how she became acquainted with the gambel quail. view profile

Published on November 15, 2021

0-1000 words

Worked with a Reedsy professional 🏆

Genre: Picture Books

Reviewed by