We read through 20-30 new picture books every month with our 5 year old. (Thank you, THANK YOU, Dear Library!) And though almost every new book is his "favorite", at least for a night or two, something special happened when my husband and son read I am Henry Finch together before bed one evening.
You see, Henry Finch starts out as an average bird, almost exactly like every other charimingly rendered thumbprint-based finch in his flock. But soon, he wakes, and then awakens, and realizes that he exists. And can think. And that quite possibly he is an amazing finch!
I am Henry Finch is the rare, philosophical picture book that entertains, engages and enlightens. As my husband read aloud Henry Finch's discovery of death, birth, individualism and community, my son, who often can't sit still, remained not only seated but nearly rooted to his seat, as his face waxed through looks of introspection, mild horror and eventually existential shock. And after the book was finished, when my husband asked my son what he thought, he said simply "Again." And they read it again.
And since then, every morning, and every evening, we have read I am Henry Finch again, and again, and again. More than any other picture book we have ever read, even Goodnight Moon.
For now you will have to place a hold on I am Henry Finch (we promise to have it back soon) but please do, and once you receive the book, please give it a try and read it through in its entirety, even though the story seems a bit dicey at times. I can't give anything away but let's just say that Henry Finch makes a very impassioned plea for vegetarianism after a personally alarming experience. Because of this I can see some parents and caretakers being afraid to push on through the story, but please try. The ideas explored in the book are very accessible, and intriguing to children and Henry Finch is a great introduction to thinking and philosophy.