Author: Henrik Drescher
Genre: Animal / Family / Surreal / Adoption
Year Published: 1982
Year Read: 2010
Publisher: MacAdam/Cage Publishing
Content Rating: Ages 4+ (Theme of Child Separation)
I have always wanted to read Henrik Drescher’s first children’s book and I have finally got a chance to read it! “The Strange Appearance of Howard Cranebill” is the New York Times Best Illustrated Children’s Book of 1982 and Henrik Drescher’s first children’s book and it is about how a lonely couple found a long nosed baby on their doorsteps and they decided to take care of the baby. “The Strange Appearance of Howard Cranebill” is truly one of the most beautiful and emotional books ever created for children!
When I first read this book, I would have never guessed that Henrik Drescher would write and illustrate a book with such elegant and simplistic illustrations and also create an emotional picture book about the importance of family, since Henrik Drescher is well known for creating books that are filled with surrealism and chaotic situations. Henrik Drescher’s writing is emotional and cute at the same time as children can easily see the love and concern that Mr. and Mrs. Cranebill have for their adoptive son, Howard despite his odd appearance. Henrik Drescher’s illustrations are much more delicate and beautiful in this book than in his later books as the characters look somewhat more realistic and yet the illustrations have a slightly surreal feel to them, especially of the image of Howard Cranebill’s long and pointy nose which just looks like a pinkish long and pointy nose and I am assuming that this is where Henrik Drescher got his inspiration for drawing characters that look like half human and half bird in his later books such as “The Fool and the Flying Ship,” “Look-Alikes” and “Runaway Opposites."
Parents should know that the ending of this book might be a tad bit too sad for smaller children to handle. I will not say much about the ending since I do not want to spoil it, but it involves a separation that many parents who have adopted children will feel sadden by.
“The Strange Appearance of Howard Cranebill” is a truly beautiful book for both children and parents who have experiences in adoption. I would recommend this book to children ages four and up since the ending might upset sensitive children.