Cover image for Henry climbs a mountain
Henry climbs a mountain
Johnson, D. B. (Donald B.), 1944-
Publication Information:
Boston : Houghton Mifflin Co., 2003.
Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 28 cm
Although he loves his freedom, Henry, a bear modeled on Henry Thoreau, goes to jail rather than go against his principles. Based on an incident in the life of Henry David Thoreau.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR LG 2.7 0.5 72950.
Electronic Access:
Publisher description
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PIC. BK. Juvenile Fiction Central Closed Stacks
PIC. BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books

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Henry wants to climb a mountain, and nothing is going to stop him. Then Sam, the tax collector, puts him in jail for not paying his taxes. Henry refuses to pay to a state that allows slavery. But being locked up doesn't stop Henry. He still gets to splash in rivers, swing from trees, and meet a stranger. This bear, modeled on the real Henry David Thoreau, roams free.

Author Notes

D. B. Johnson has been a freelance illustrator for more than twenty years and has done editorial cartoons, comic strips, and conceptual illustrations for magazines and newspapers around the country. Mr. Johnson's first picture book, Henry Hikes to Fitchburg, was a New York Times bestseller and a Publishers Weekly bestseller, as well as an American Bookseller "Pick of the Lists." Henry Hikes to Fitchburg also won numerous awards, including the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award for Picture Books and the Ezra Jack Keats New Writer Award. Mr. Johnson and his wife, Linda, live in New Hampshire.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

K-Gr. 3. This fanciful picture book, the third in the series that began with Henry Hikes to Fitchburg (2000), takes its inspiration from Walden and Civil Disobedience, in which Thoreau describes a night spent in jail. Here Henry the bear, confined to a cell after refusing to pay taxes to a state that allows slavery, takes his crayons and begins to draw pictures on the wall. In a sequence reminiscent of Crockett Johnson's Harold and the Purple Crayon, Henry then climbs into the scene he is creating. Hiking along the mountain path, he befriends a traveler who is walking northward to freedom. An appended note comments on Thoreau's love of mountains, his hatred of slavery, and the influence of his writings on civil disobedience. The story seems more dreamlike than the previous ones in the series, but the simple, direct telling is very satisfying, and the stylized illustrations, in colored pencil and paint, look fresh and inviting, providing a lightly cubist, appealingly askew perspective of the world. Clearly the bear, like the man, sees things a little differently from most. A new avenue for introducing Thoreau and the issue of slavery to young children, as well as another story for Henry's admirers. --Carolyn Phelan Copyright 2003 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

Henry Climbs a Mountain, the third book by D. B. Johnson based on the life of Henry David Thoreau, follows the ursine hero on his way to go mountain-climbing. Before he gets there, Henry is jailed for tax evasion. However, being locked up doesn't stop Henry from climbing mountains and forging some streams of his own invention. Interesting perspectives and Cubist shapes convey the adventurous bear's imagination and connection with nature. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

Gr 1-3-In this story, based on an incident in the life of Henry David Thoreau, Henry the bear is arrested for non-payment of taxes and spends a night in jail making the most of the experience. An author's note relates Thoreau's stand on civil disobedience and slavery to Henry's dilemma. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.