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Anything But Hank!: Illustrated by Eric Orchard [Hardcover]

4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Book Description

May 1 2011
In Anything But Hank! Rachel Lebowitz and Zachariah Wells combine the whimsical humour of Lewis Carroll with the adventure-narrative balladeering of Robert Service to spin an unforgettable tale of a baby -- and a pig! -- in search of a name. Their quest takes them from the city to the mountains, as they seek an audience with the Wizard and his baby-naming Mexican beaded lizard. The story, accompanied by the gorgeously lush paintings of Eric Orchard, is a delight for readers of all ages.

Product Details

Product Description

Quill & Quire

Anything But Hank aims high, attempting to combine Lewis Carroll’s whimsy with Robert Service’s sense of rough adventure. Or so says the jacket blurb. The cover art hints at action and weirdness, with a baby racing through storm clouds and mountains on the back of a pig. The story turns out to be a cool take on the classic dilemma of naming the baby. In this version, the parents can’t think of what to call their crying son, so their cat takes matters in hand, and on a magical night the baby is transported, by piggyback, to a wizard with a lizard and – well, away we go. Sounds like goofy fun, right? Wrong. The poetry too often limps and staggers, failing to live up to the billing, the art, or the story. I make no claims to being a real poet, but I have some experience with doggerel. What the best children’s poets – from Edward Lear and Hilaire Belloc to Dennis Lee and Loris Lesynski – all have going for them is a strong sense of rhythm. You can skip to their rhymes – indeed, at times you can hardly help yourself. Here, in contrast, is the second stanza of Anything But Hank: “The cats they arched their silver backs,/ Raccoons crept through the hedge,/ The sky was blackest of the blacks/ And the full moon’s name was Reg.” That third line clearly exists only to fill in the metre, and the last one simply stops you in your tracks. Still, Eric Orchard’s paintings are lush, strange, and evocative throughout. And some phrases really resonate. The pig beautifully sums up the theme of the book when, speaking of the unnamed baby, he says: “He needs a word, a quiet space/ That he can call his own.”


"Eric Orchard's paintings are lush, strange, and evocative throughout."--Richard Scrimger, Quill & Quire "Anything but Hank! is a lovely read-aloud book perfect for storytime."--Midwest Review of Books

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Customer Reviews

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
I bought this book for my three-year old daughter, and it is now her favorite bedtime story. The illustrations are vivid and captivating, and she absolutely adores the pig! More importantly, I like the book because it teaches her about the importance of finding her own identity, which is something all children should probably learn. I would recommend this book to anyone with children aged between 18 months and 10 years. 5 stars!
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3.0 out of 5 stars Probably not good if your name is Hank Feb. 14 2009
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Odd little story about how kids get their names is amusing and entertained the kids. I bought it sight unseen because I collect Eric Orchard art but this is not my favorite of his work -- it's fine though and you won't be disappointed, but keep an eye out for Eric's newer stuff -- he just keeps getting better and better. It's when he is illustrating his own writing/vision that he really comes into his own though. But if you have young kids who ever wondered why you named them what you have, the story of the naming wizard and the hero pig will certainly keep them enthralled.
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Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A lovely read-aloud book perfect for storytime Nov. 13 2008
By Midwest Book Review - Published on Amazon.com
Anything but Hank! is a rhyming children's picturebook about a young infant in need of a name. His father wants to call him Hank, but his mother is against the idea. A pig decides the boy is in need of wisdom from a Wizard and his Mexican bearded lizard, which so happens to specialize in naming babies! Together they go on a wondrous journey, brought to life with sweeping paintings by illustrator Eric Orchard. Anything but Hank! is a lovely read-aloud book perfect for storytime.
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