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Henry's Hand

Henry's Hand

by Ross MacDonald

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Henry’s Hand is a story about the friendship between Henry, a giant, and his right hand. You see, Henry sometimes has trouble keeping track of his body parts—everything from his ears to one of his legs can fall off. Once, his eye even rolled under the couch and wouldn’t come out until bedtime. But with help from Hand, Henry keeps himself


Henry’s Hand is a story about the friendship between Henry, a giant, and his right hand. You see, Henry sometimes has trouble keeping track of his body parts—everything from his ears to one of his legs can fall off. Once, his eye even rolled under the couch and wouldn’t come out until bedtime. But with help from Hand, Henry keeps himself together. In fact, Henry and Hand are the best of friends . . . that is, until Henry takes Hand for granted, pushes him too far, and Hand runs away. A charming tale of friendship, forgiveness, and loyalty, Henry’s Hand is also a quirky story for readers of all ages, especially those of us who know what it feels like to fight with your best friend.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Frankenstein-monster lookalike Henry, a greenish “bits-and-pieces kind of guy,” literally puts himself together every morning. Henry always makes sure his feet and eyes are attached, and he gives his favorite part, his right hand, unprecedented freedom. Independent of Henry, the dexterous Hand gallops around on its fingers and works around the house. Finally, weary of Henry’s chores, Hand stows away on a city-bound turnip truck and, to the shock and delight of 1930s-style newsies, heroically saves a distracted commuter from a traffic accident. Instantly rich and popular, “Hand didn’t have to lift a finger” any longer. Meanwhile, Henry pines for his missing part. MacDonald (Boys of Steel) exhibits his customary affection for WWII-era comics, picturing roadster-driving men in fedoras and a glowing, golden, modernist city. Forlorn Henry nods to early creature features, while Hand recalls The Addams Family’s unattached Thing. All the pieces are in place, as it were, and MacDonald sets them in motion in a melodramatic plot that wraps up with a reunion worthy of applause—with both hands. Ages 4–8. Agent: Holly McGhee, Pippin Properties. (Oct.)
Children's Literature - Sharon Salluzzo
Henry was a “bits-and-pieces kind of guy.” That is, he was a greenish monster whose ears, legs, hands, and even eyeballs could fall off. His right hand was his favorite part and they did everything together. When Henry grew increasingly lazy and relied more and more on Hand to do things for him, Hand decided to leave their home in the country and go off to the big city. There he rescued a pedestrian who was walking into the path of an oncoming truck. Hand not only became a hero, but began to live a life of luxury. Meanwhile, Henry, who had been searching for Hand, read about him in the newspaper and wrote to him. Because of the words on the note, Hand returned home and the two were reunited. This story is quirky, offbeat, and oh-so-much fun! MacDonald’s 1940’s style illustrations, created in soft tones of watercolor and pencil crayon, recall the comic book heroes of that era and the science fiction/monster movies of the early 1950s. That a hand would go off on its own sets up the tongue-in-cheek humor of the text which, in turn, is carried through the illustrations. MacDonald gives us a soft-hearted but unsentimental view of what it means to be a friend. This would be great fun to read in a primary grade storytime. Reviewer: Sharon Salluzzo; Ages 5 to 8.
School Library Journal
K-Gr 3—Henry is a jolly zombie with the uncanny ability to disassemble himself. He relies on all of his body parts, but he is most dependent on dutiful and friendly Hand. But when Hand starts to feel overworked, he runs away to the big city to go on an adventure of his own and finds himself living in luxury. But now that he doesn't have to lift a finger to help anyone else, he grows restless, while back at home Henry realizes how he took Hand for granted. It's a ridiculous and bizarre concept, but also filled with a lot of heart. In the end, Henry writes Hand a letter saying that he needs him, and Hand replies, "I came as soon as I could. That's just how it is with old friends." MacDonald's nostalgic style makes the piece come alive (undead?) and adds to the humor. The picture-perfect world filled with Art Deco buildings and rosy-cheeked townsfolk comically contrasts with a cartoon Henry and his Munsters-like hotrod. Henry's Hand would pair well with Michael Rex's Goodnight Goon (2008) and Runaway Mummy (2009, both Putnam).—Peter Blenski, Greenfield Public Library, WI
Kirkus Reviews
★ 2013-09-15
A good old-fashioned man/appendage love story for the ages. Henry's just your typical Frankenstein's monster, "bits-and-pieces kind of guy." Prone to having his body parts wander off without him, he's closest to his right hand. Alas, Henry fails to appreciate the hand's work, cruelly exploiting its helpful little green digits, sending it out to start the car on cold mornings and making it get up to change the channel. Little wonder that, one day, he finds that it has taken off for the big city. There, it saves a rich man from certain death and instantly becomes the talk of the town. Yet at the end of the day, even fame and fortune cannot compare to a good friend who knows you like the back of…well, you know. The combination of a rags-to-riches tale and the monster genre might appear jarring in the abstract, but MacDonald manages to make the enterprise work. The text is warm and friendly, though adults of a certain age will have a hard time not thinking of Thing from The Addams Family. Meanwhile, the art takes advantage of classic 1930s tropes, from crooked caps and newsboys to mailrooms and wealthy socialites. Kids will come for the monster and the disembodied hand. They'll stay for the story. (Picture book. 3-7)

Product Details

Abrams, Harry N., Inc.
Publication date:
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
File size:
10 MB
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

Meet the Author

ROSS MACDONALD’s illustrations appear in many publications including Vanity Fair, the New Yorker, the New York Times, the Atlantic, Newsweek, Time, the Wall Street Journal, Harper’s, and Rolling Stone. He has written and illustrated multiple children’s books, and has been honored in many design and illustration competitions, including American Illustration, Print Regional Design Annual, Communication Arts, the Society of Publication Designers, the AIGA, and the Society of Illustrators. He lives in Newton, CT.

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