Blue-Ribbon Henry

by Mary Calhoun

ISBN 0-688-14674-0 (Trade edition)
ISBN 0-688-14675-9 (Library edition)

1999 Published by Morrow Junior Books.


A day at the county fair---what fun! For everyone but Henry, that is. First his family enters him in a pet show, where--- yowl-meowl!--- Henry's chief competitor is a snooty cat who's much bigger and sleeker than he is. Then some people think Henry is funny, not feisty, when he rescues the Kid during the greased pig contest. But when a little girl gets lost and only this high-stepping, hind-leg-walking hero can find the child and lead her safely back to her mother, Henry shows that he's got what it takes to win first place in fairgoers'---and readers' ---hearts. Mary Calhoun's gently humorous story and Erick Ingraham's breathtaking illustrations combine for a rollicking picture-book adventure that will captivate Henry fans of all ages.

KIRKUS - May 1999 
Calhoun and Ingraham (Henry the Sailor Cat, 1994, etc.) welcome readers to the hustle and bustle of a county fair where Buttons, the dog, and Henry, the cat, are entered into a pet show. When Henry gets loose from his cage and enters the greased-pig pen, the excitement is just beginning. Henry paws at and bursts the balloon of a lost child, but redeems himself by returning her to the safety of her mother's arms. Is it any wonder that Henry wins a blue ribbon? Ingraham's illustrations capture of the highlights and atmosphere of a county fair in the summertime. (Picture Books 5-8)

The star of Hot-Air Henry and High-Wire Henry returns. This time, the Siamese cat visits the country fair with his family, where he's intimidated by the large size of animals competing for prizes. When he tries to save his owner from a furious charging pig, Henry finds to his chagrin that the boy is actually doing the chasing. When bystanders laugh at his "rescue" attempt, the cat runs away in humiliation. His shame is soon forgotten, though, when he finds a lost girl and leads her out of a horse arena and back to her mother. As a result of his bravery (and not his appearance), Henry wins a "Pet of the Show" award. The moral is both clear and satisfactory. The watercolor-and-pencil illustrations portray realistic scenes. Ingraham uses shading and color to highlight the action and the main characters while still depicting the hustle and bustle of a country fair. The charming pictures, fast pace, and clear resolution of the plot make this story a natural read-aloud. Children will enjoy the action and identify with Henry's initial feelings of inadequacy and later pride at his achievements. - Tana Elias, Meadowridge Branch Library, Madison, WI

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