Baloney (Henry P.)

Baloney (Henry P.)

4.3 3
by Jon Scieszka, Lane Smith

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The twisted team that gave the world Squids Will Be Squids and The Stinky Cheese Man now delivers a whole lot of Baloney. Henry P. Baloney. Henry is an alien schoolkid who needs to come up with one very good excuse to explain why he is late for szkola, again. Otherwise, his teacher Miss Bugscuffle promises, it's Permanent Lifelong


The twisted team that gave the world Squids Will Be Squids and The Stinky Cheese Man now delivers a whole lot of Baloney. Henry P. Baloney. Henry is an alien schoolkid who needs to come up with one very good excuse to explain why he is late for szkola, again. Otherwise, his teacher Miss Bugscuffle promises, it's Permanent Lifelong Detention.

Henry's tall tale of his lost zimulis-received from deep space by Jon Scieszka-is told in at least twenty different Earth languages and graphically recreated in Lane Smith's out-of-this-world illustrations.

The unbelievable trip into Henry's wild universe may be the most original excuse ever for being late for szkola. Or it might just be Baloney. Henry P. Baloney.

Editorial Reviews
The Barnes & Noble Review
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)

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This book's gleaming silver cover and little green namesake signal intergalactic adventure. Fortunately, Scieszka and Smith (Squids Will Be Squids) prefer innovation to UFO cliches, and this tale of an alien truant is also a language game. Lime-colored, freckled Henry P. Baloney is late for class and faces "Permanent Lifelong Detention" from Miss Bugscuffle. He concocts an excuse that spools across the pages in emphatic, italicized capital letters. " 'I would have been exactly on time,' said Henry. 'But... I misplaced my trusty zimulis. Then it on my deski.' " Smith's airbrush-speckled collages zoom from a closeup of a pencil to Henry leaning over a kidney-shaped desk; thus, "zimulis" and "deski" enter the vocabulary. Henry goes on to describe being crowned "kuningas" of another planet and almost getting shot with a "blassa." A "Decoder" at the back of the book reveals that all 20 unfamiliar terms are either non-English (the Dutch "speelplaats" means "playground") or wordplay ("flying saucer" becomes "sighing flosser"). Contextual cues allow readers with no prior knowledge of Italian, Latvian or Polish to comprehend Henry P.'s hyperboles: "I jammed the razzo controls with my zimulis so I could land behind szkola and still be on time," says Henry, and Smith pictures a rocket console, a variety of dials and Henry's pencil. Amateur linguists will have a field day exploring this non-nonsense. All ages. (May) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Children's Literature
Outrageous spins on familiar themes are this team's specialty. Here Henry must come up with an excuse for being late to tell his teacher, Miss Bugscuffle. And so he begins his wild narration, filled with words whose meanings we must guess. Blasting off from a launch pad to a strange planet, he encounters, charms, then enrages the inhabitants, finally surviving a rough return. The Afterword informs us that this is a transmission from outer space, in many Earth languages, while a Decoder page gives us the original language and translation. A wild romp in few words, with new ones to learn as a bonus, this zany narrative demands appropriate visuals. Smith obliges with very large type set in capitals appearing in boxes, while other boxes of varying sizes attempt to show us Henry's out-of-this-world adventures. The mechanical look of everything, including our hero, appears produced with electronic help. Don't miss the shiny paper jacket over a textless cover, or the knock-out endpapers. A CD with the book includes a screen saver, wallpaper and a great game to practice the new vocabulary, along with information about the creative pair and their other publications. 2001, Viking/Penguin Putnam Books for Young Readers, $15.99. Ages 5 to 11. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
Gr 1-5-A small green alien would have been exactly on time for class, he explains to his teacher, except for the fact that he misplaced his zimulis (pencil)-and so begins a hoot of a tall tale "received and decoded" from deep space by Scieszka with "visual recreation" by Smith, his cohort in hip hilarity. This could be the story of any Earthling student with a vivid imagination who needs to come up with "one very good and very believable excuse." In short action-packed sentences, Henry describes an adventure involving a torakku (truck), razzo (rocket), funny piksas (pictures), and a narrowly avoided zerplatzen (you guessed it!) all over the speelplaats (playground). The trusty zimulis makes several appearances throughout the fast-moving narrative, culminating in a final (dis)appearance at story's end. The "outer space" vocabulary is culled from languages from Dutch to Welsh, with a few transpositions and spoonerisms tossed in. A handy word decoder is included. Smith's intricate illustrations/assemblages work perfectly with bold white-on-black text blocks. This title continues the slightly subversive bent of other Scieszka and Smith collaborations like Math Curse and Squids Will Be Squids with its silly yet sly wit and clever styling. Wrapped in an eye-catching, high-tech silver cover, Baloney is sure to fly off the shelves and out the pordo (door) of your library.-Mary Ann Carcich, Mattituck-Laurel Public Library, Mattituck, NY Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Child Magazine
A Child Magazine Best Book of 2001 Pick

Threatened with "permanent lifelong detention" by his teacher, Miss Bugscuffle, for being tardy, a young alien (the aptly named Henry P. Baloney) invents a whopper of an excuse. Futuristic, computer-aided artwork and "extraterrestrial" words (plucked from foreign dictionaries) are used to enliven Henry's wild story: "I foiled their plan to disintegrate me by plugging their blassa with my zimulus." Glossary, er, "decoder" included on the last page.

Product Details

Viking Juvenile
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
9.36(w) x 9.30(h) x 0.44(d)
AD400L (what's this?)
Age Range:
5 - 8 Years

Meet the Author

Jon Scieszka was born in Flint, Michigan on September 8th, 1954. He grew up with five brothers, has the same birthday as Peter Sellers and the Virgin Mary, and a sneaking suspicion that the characters in his Dick and Jane reader were not of this world.

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Baloney (Henry P.) 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The best children's books entrance you with their images, the story and the images build on one another, and the story adds dimensions that are unanticipated and interesting. This book almost meets those tests, and adds to your language skills in the process. 'Last Tuesday morning, at 8:37 a.m., Henry P. Baloney was late once too often.' 'That's it,' said Miss Bugscuffle. 'Permanent Lifelong Detention . . . unless you have one very good and very believable excuse.' Then begins the wildest tale tale you've ever heard. It all starts when a zimulis is misplaced. It is on a deski in a torakku on the way to szkola, and suddenly the torakku goes past! Henry grabbed his zimulis and jumped out, right onto a razzo launch pad. He opened the pordo and landed on the next razzo while it was blasting off. Then things got really strange! If you could see the illustrations, you would be able to make more of this story. You would probably guess that a zimulis is a pencil and that a torakku is a truck. Decoding these strange words will definitely keep your mind occupied. Just when you think you have them figured out, they switch again. It turns out that the strange words are in Finnish, Latin, Ugbaric, Maltese, Swahili, French, Melanesian Pidgen, Esperanto, Italian, Spoonerisms, Dutch, Japanese, Welsh, German, Inuktitut, Latvian, and transpositions. There is an afterword that tips you off, and a decoder to help you decipher the words. But you will have much more fun trying it on your own, learning from the context of the surrounding words and the illustrations. So obviously, the text and the illustrations build on one another. Because you aren't always sure what the words mean, the story is unexpected. Unfortunately, the tall tale itself follows a path similar enough to all tall tales that it fails to intrigue of its own merit (without the clever word plays). I graded the book down one star for this weakness. I am also unsure how much fun it will be read this book over and over again. After all, at some point your child and you will know what each word means and how Henry's predicament ends up. Without the suspense that you will genuinely feel on the first time, this book will probably become much less special. If you are interested in intriguing your child with the potential of words to fascinate and draw attention, this is a definite book to have. The illustrations are outstanding, and nicely amplify the very unusual text. After you and your child have read the book, you can have some fun discussions about how to use context to determine which meanings of English words are intended. As you know, many words (like 'green') can have many different meanings. Are you supposed to see the color or a person who is inexperienced? Explore the full potential of any story, using all the tools at your disposal! Donald Mitchell, co-author of The Irresistible Growth Enterprise and The 2,000 Percent Solution
psycheKK More than 1 year ago
My son is not quite five.  He is not in elementary school.  He is not even in Kindergarten.  He loves this book about "the green alien with big ears".  Go figure.  Actually, that may not be too surprising since I bought this book in 2001, long before my not-quite-five-year-old son was born.  He must have inherited my sense of humor.  This book is a challenge to read out loud because some words are in a different language, some are transpositions, and some are Spoonerism.  That challenge actually adds to the appeal of the book for me.  My son is learning to read and struggles with words in English.  The story is funny, silly and absolute nonsense, as you would expect from the "Baloney" in the title. Lane Smith does a marvelous job with the illustrations, from "the green alien with big ears", to the zimulis, to the razzo, to the Planet Astrosus, to the sighing flosser... The book is cover to cover wonderful.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I love the green lemonade! Henry P. Baloney is the cutest little thing I ever did see! I could just eat him up!! And Henry's Sitruuna Bebida............ just pure GENIUS!!! I love it!!! I LOVE IT!