Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith have created the ultimate alien with Henry P. Baloney. Trying to avoid Permanent Lifelong Detention for yet another tardy arrival, Henry proceeds to tell a rather detailed and dynamic story about a trusty pencil, a wayward truck, and a fickle flock of Astro guys. Sound a little strange? Of course it is, but it sure is fun! Does Henry eventually make it to class? Of course, but he's seven minutes late!
Throughout the story, Scieszka uses words from languages around the world: Italian, Swahili, and Welsh, just to name a few. A pencil is a "zimulis," a playground is a "speelplaats," and a noise is a "twrf." Scieszka wanted to show kids that learning to read can be fun, even when the words look totally weird. Henry's outrageous storytelling also displays that unmatched ability to be creative in tough situations.
Illustrator Lane Smith uses amazing patterns and striking colors to recreate the lively imagination of Henry P. Muted grays and browns are matched with brilliant reds to produce awesome combinations and the quasi-comic-book layout lets Henry's story unfold like an action packed movie. Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith have created an amusing tall tale, sure to appeal to all the many Henry P. Baloneys of this world. (Amy Barkat)