A first glance at the cover of Something About Hensley’s and kids will be saying, “Oooooh!” Candy and toys and contraptions and all sorts of good things wave their colors right on the front. Patricia Polacco brings readers a story about a store, not something many children’s books authors could do. But she knows exactly what she is doing and delivers yet another heartwarming story, performing both the writing and illustrating.
John Soncrant owns a general store where people can find just about everything they need. He has got a knack for coming up with some of the most obscure items that other people cannot find on their own. Whether the item might be a strange-looking lamp or a big track shoe for someone’s left foot, he can find it and he can deliver. His store is a great place to peruse, with all sorts of goodies, knickknacks, and items hanging, sitting on shelves, and waiting to be taken up for use. He is almost like a magician the way he comes up with things for people!
Something About Hensley’s takes on an interesting turn when a family moves into town. Molly has serious asthma and Kate loves kittens. They are very poor and their mother has no job. Yet when Old John hears about it, just like with shoes and lamps, he is able to deliver what they need to them. Molly gets medical care. A rescued kitten gets a home with Kate. And their mother even gets a job! There certainly is Something About Hensley’s!
While kids may not recall the days when general stores were the norm, many adults certainly will, which may mean parents appreciate the tone of this book even more. But kids will still have a great time looking at all the detailed goodies that rest in Old John’s store and wishing they had a place like it to visit in their own home town. Polacco’s illustrations are full of rich color and detail, and the story is a bright and chipper one that will make all readers wish there were more people like Old John around.