Oh Henry Turnip, from the moment I lay eyes on your little panda face, I was in love. This is a beautiful book with a special main character and brilliant illustrations that is all about being unique and shows us how friendships can change us for the better.
Henry Turnip is a panda who is very particular about the things he likes – he eats the same breakfast every day, likes strawberry jam sandwiches with the crusts cut off and has seven blue and white striped overalls for every day of the week (I am Henry Turnip, Henry Turnip is me).
But at school, Henry finds it all a little overwhelming, it is noisy – “So at lunch, although he’d like to join in, Henry sits by himself.”
That is until the day Reuben Moon enters his life, and shows him how to have an adventure – “Reuben Moon is an adventurer and an explorer of the playground who likes hanging upside down, running, jumping, shouting, and making lots of friends.”
This is just such a fantastic story – I truly loved it. It is well written and simple to follow, and although is on the exterior very sweet and adorable, is also quite moving and powerful. The story and the illustrations work really well together, and I felt so much for Henry and was genuinely so so happy for his friendship with Reuben.
I feel that sometimes the Reuben Moons of the world take centre stage in stories all the time, and now I wish there were most stories that give the Henry Turnips of the world a chance. In this, it features a really important message that it is okay to be just who you are, but sometimes it is worth stepping out of your comfort zone.
The illustrations are just absolutely brilliant. The bright retro colour scheme really grabs your attention straight away, and sets it apart from everything else on the market at the moment. I adored all the animals, particularly Henry and Reuben. I loved the big double page spreads with all the different animals in their adorable little outfits – my toddler gets really excited whenever we read this one just taking in all the colours and pointing out all the animals.
Henry Turnip is a beautiful book all about friendship, and shows kids it is okay to be different, but its always worthwhile trying new things.
Author/illustrator Chloe Jasmine Harris has outdone herself with this book and I hope she will be bringing out more stories soon. She was also kind enough to answer some questions about Henry and her process through creating these characters and illustrations, which you can read in her interview here.
To grab yourself a copy of this book, click here.
Title: Henry Turnip
Author/Illustrator: Chloe Jasmine Harris
Publisher: Walker Books