“We’ll see who gets there first!”

Henry David Thoreau imagined as a bear, as perhaps imagined by Picasso in his Cubist period. Henry and his friend decide to go to Fitchburg one day. Henry is going to walk; his friend is going to work until he earns the fare for the train. “We’ll see who gets there first!”

The book follows their separate journeys. Henry’s friend fills Mrs. Alcott’s woodbox, sweeps out the post office, and weeds Mr. Hawthorne’s garden among other jobs.

Henry carves a walking stick, stops to pick ferns and flowers, climbs a tree, paddles up the Nashua River in a home-made raft, finds a bird’s nest and a honey tree and goes skinny dipping.

His friend makes enough money to take the train and gets to Fitchburg before Henry, who joins him as the moon is rising and shares the pail of blackberries he picked along the way.

The illustrations are beautifully detailed, full of color and Easter eggs, and the story is a subtle lesson in the difference between living and living well. A wonderful Christmas gift for a child and a book a parent won’t mind reading over and over again, as they will surely have to do.

Book Review Monday Chatter

Dana View All →

Author and founder of Storyknife.org.

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