The young heroine of this enchanting book by the Australian writer Martine Murray is an unusual girl. Henrietta introduces herself to us as the queen of the coast of lost socks. She is the world's most tremendous jumper and dancer, enjoys building castles out of cushions, loves chocolate cake and her brother Albert, and would like to become a researcher one day. She turns her dog into a mammoth by means of a blanket, and in the bathtub she sails to undiscovered countries, to the country of the muttering potatoes, for example. She converts her everyday surroundings into a highly imaginative universe and in the process she closely and wittily observes her often overtaxed mummy and her somewhat irritable daddy. Henrietta often reminds us of Pippi Longstocking. She isn't satisfied with what is available, instead she always invents something new - for example the Rietta, an animal which is hidden in her name.
The illustrations are by the writer herself and are full of life and movement. Henrietta, who is drawn match-stick style, runs and jumps over the paper as if she were alive. The colours are reduced to brown, red and white and as a result never make a clichéd impression.
Henrietta's little brother Albert plays a major role. Even though he can be very irritating, she still loves him very much and would later like to take him along with her to her imaginary countries. This book is therefore highly suitable for children with younger brothers and sisters, or for those who are expecting a brother or sister. However, all other children will also have a lot of fun with Henrietta, whether they are read to or read the book themselves. The book is designed very beautifully especially for "beginning readers," since text and pictures blend together in an amusing way and are not placed rigidly next to each other.
Martine Murray, the writer, lives in Melbourne. In addition to law she also studied dance and painting, which explains the book's terrific illustrations. "My not entirely true story", her first story written for children, received a number of awards and is also highly recommended.
Author: Martine Murray
MACMILLAN CHILDREN'S (January 6, 2006)