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Owen (Caldecott Honor Book)
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The clinical name is transitional object, but for young children, a beloved blanket is more like a lifeline. And that’s exactly how Owen feels about his baby blanket, fondly named Fuzzy. The Owen-Fuzzy relationship is cruising along smoothly until a nosy neighbor, Mrs. Tweezers, leans over the fence and asks his parents, “Isn’t he getting a little old to be carrying that thing around?” With kindergarten just around the corner, Owen’s parents wonder if he should in fact relinquish his prized Fuzzy. Kevin Henkes uses his signature mouse characters and jewel-tone watercolors to explore the antics and foils of one mouse-boy, one rag-blanket, and two parents wondering how to help their son kick the habit. This is what Henkes does best—playfully bringing childhood fears and feelings to the surface while portraying real-life parent-child tensions. Mrs. Tweezers, a real sourpuss, is no help at all. She offers terrible over-the-fence advice, such as dipping Fuzzy in vinegar (as if to cure a nail-biting habit) or stealing the blanket in the night.
It is not until the eve of Owen’s first day of kindergarten that his mother hatches the perfect solution. Ultimately, she finds a way that Owen can hang on to his first true love while also taking the next step into middle childhood—a solution that suits everyone, including Mrs. Tweezers. Caldecott Honor Book, Horn Book Fanfare Honor List, ALA Notable Book, Boston Globe/Horn Book Honor Book, School Library Journal Best Book of the Year, ALA Booklist Children’s Editors’ Choice. (Ages 3 and older) —Gail Hudson
A worthy addition to Henkes’s ( Chester’s Way ; Julius, the Baby of the World ) impressive, engaging oeuvre, this animated tale takes up the case of a wee mouse’s devotion to a no-longer-fuzzy blanket named Fuzzy. Imbued with Henkes’s characteristically understated humor, spry text and brightly hued watercolor-and-ink pictures chronicle how Owen’s next-door neighbor, Mrs. Tweezers, suggests to Owen’s parents a series of ploys to separate their son—who is soon to start school—from Fuzzy. The ingenious mouse foils each attempt, until his resourceful mother stumbles upon “an absolutely wonderful, positively perfect, especially terrific idea.” With some snipping and sewing, she transforms the beloved blanket into a batch of very portable handkerchiefs, a stratagem that not only keeps Owen happy but manages to silence the meddling Mrs. Tweezers. Even youngsters unattached to a Fuzzy-like object will feel a kinship with the winningly wily Owen—and parents of the attached may find a useful solution to an age-old dilemma. Ages 3-up. Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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