Henry Turnip (Chloe Jasmine Harris, Walker Books)
Henry Turnip is a panda who likes strawberry jam sandwiches with the crusts cut off, reading about the ocean, and his seven sets of blue-striped overalls. He dislikes mess, too much noise and too many people. Chloe Jasmine Harris’ charming story is about trying new experiences, managing shyness and finding friends who bring out the best in each another. Like many reserved children, school life for Henry is quite solitary. In contrast, rabbit Reuben Moon thrives on noise, action, exploration and making new friends—including Henry. Despite their obvious differences, these two naturally complement one another. Henry shares his imaginary world of books and Reuben takes Henry to the moon through imaginary play. Harris’ gentle words and illustrations portray relatable characters—readers can identify with either personality or somewhere in between—and how they adapt to different situations. Depicted as cheerful animals, the lively characters are rendered with soft watercolours in primary tones. Henry Turnip is reassuringly upbeat, with an engaging mix of visual and textual techniques and messages of self-appreciation and open-mindedness. Children aged two and over will adore this playful, inclusive and valuable story.
Romi Sharp is a picture book writer and digital marketer for children’s authors and publishers