Henry the Impatient Heron

Learning Magazine’s Teachers Choice Award Feedback

“I would use this book as a read-aloud to small groups. The children also enjoyed looking at the pictures independently. It was a good discussion book with the children after I read it. This book was interesting to the children because it was about animals. It also integrated a lesson that is relevant to a lot of children. The story plot was simple and easy to understand. This book taught science realistically about herons, but also tied in the aspect of patience. It took a difficult concept to grasp and created a story from it. It integrates science and character. I would recommend this product to teachers because it is interesting, simple, and very educational. It also teaches patience which is very helpful to teachers.”

“I would recommend using this book in the classroom as a read aloud book so that the children could understand Henry's impatience through the emphasis in reading aloud. Children this age love to be read to aloud. Children gain an understanding through the expressions made by the reader. This book is interesting and motivating because the illustrations and conversations are very realistic. Children this age love to learn about animals, and they enjoy pond life. They can relate to the heron because he is young like they are young. This book teaches character skills and science skills. Through this story children can relate to the impatience of Henry and learn skills to help them learn patience which is a skill in which everyone needs to be trained. Children are introduced to plants and animals of pond life and to the life cycle of the blue heron. I would recommend this book to a preschool classroom because it has beautiful illustrations. It also teaches a much needed character skill, and it would be very useful during the theme for pond life.”

“Yes, I do recommend this book for the classroom. I used it as a read aloud, but it could be used for independent reading and a reference material on herons. Yes, it was interesting as we studied the life cycle of a variety of animals. This was one more we added to our selections. The story of learning how to feed himself was a good example of personification while also teaching the lesson that patience is a virtue and has its own this case, food. Science curriculum topics of life cycles as well as animal characteristics are covered in this book. The story is also a good source for Language arts skills of recognizing story elements. This book is attractive, informative, and the topic is effective for teaching life cycles about something besides frogs and butterflies. This in itself is refreshing, while the format of a story followed by information about herons takes this book to a new level.”

“This book can be used in whole group Read Aloud or Independent enrichment reading. The writing and the illustrations were captivating. The students were able to learn about the life cycle of the heron. They also were able to see that patience does pay off. We used the lesson to do Power Writes, make predictions, and to learn about animal behavior. This book is an asset to our class library. The story is engaging, the pictures are terrific, and the facts are presented in an appealing format.”

“This book could be used for Independent reading for students that are on or above grade level. It could be a supplemental book for a life cycle unit. The children really liked this book. It is not too long so it keeps the students' attention. The pictures are good and captures the children's attention. This book can be incorporated into a science curriculum. After reading the story it gives information about the life cycle of a heron. There is a matching activity at the end of the book which was fun and engaging for the children. It lends itself to good discussion in the classroom. I would recommend this book to other teachers because the students liked the book and I especially liked how I could incorporate our study of life cycles.”

“The book is a great read-aloud book. It covers a lot of information that is presented in an easy to understand language with supportive illustrations. The students enjoyed the antics of the young, impatient heron. It was especially interesting to have the additional information at the end of the story for creative minds. The curriculum skills I used related to life cycles as presented in science. The predator/prey story line was easy to understand through the fictional tale of Henry. Also, the students got a clear picture as to what impatient means! If funds were available, I would be able to recommend this product to a teacher. The students enjoyed the story, and they also liked the game presented at the back of the book. The variety of sentence structure and page layout make it appealing to all."

School Library Journal - June 2009

Henry can not stand still. This is a problem, since herons must stand still in order to hunt for food. One day he becomes separated from his family at the pond. When he gets hungry, he realizes, “I can do this, I can catch myself something to eat.” After several failed yet amusing attempts, he meets “THE GREAT BLUE HERON, the heron of all herons,” who teaches him a trick, and the impatient Henry learns to stand still. Love’s simple text imparts an important lesson, while Wald’s fun, playful, yet realistic illustrations complement the narrative. Fact boxes and information about herons are appended. Lesson plans, quizzes, and additional support are all available through the publisher’s Web site.
- Michele Sealander, Hamburg School, NJ

Ohioana Quarterly - October 2011

This is a wonderful book to read as a bedtime story or with family members. There are great, colorful illustrations!

Nancy Attebury, children's book author - March 2009

Henry has quite a time with his patience as a heron “youngster.”  He can’t stay still. Unlike his brothers and sisters and parents he hops and squawks and twists and bobs too much. When he tries to hunt, he is too wiggly to catch anything and only manages to frighten away his prey. Finally, when he is very hungry the Great Blue Heron, who is King of Camouflage, gives him some advice. Henry finds he can catch food by following the advice and all ends well. This book contains a plethora of information about herons and also has an engaging story. From it, children can learn that it is not always easy to be patient. Some young listeners will readily identify with this. However, they can also learn that it is possible to reach a goal by gaining patience. Colorful, pleasing illustrations enhance the text. Especially nice is the way some pages contain inset illustrations. Facts, hunting habits, wetlands, and life cycle material can be found in the section called “For Creative Minds” at the back of the book. This book can be a great addition to science lessons.

Your Big Backyard, National Wildlife Federation - 2009

Great blue herons catch their food by standing quietly in shallow waters. But as hard as he tries, Henry, a young, impatient heron, just can’t stand still. So Henry chases after fish, frogs, and salamanders, but they all escape before he can catch them. Luckily, Henry meets an older heron that explains the trick to catching a fish is to pretend you are a stick. Following the wise heron’s advice, Henry finally learns how to stand still and catch his own food. This book is filled with fun facts about great blue herons. It also teaches kids the importance of being patient and calm.

IRA Reading Today - June/July 2009

Henry the heron can’t sit still. For a heron, remaining motionless means catching food. And the hungrier Henry gets, the harder it is for him to be patient and stationary. Fortunately, Henry finds a solution. He pretends to be a stick, and sticks are very still. Arbordale books always contain lots of information about their topics, and this one has many fascinating items about blue herons. Donna Love’s story is perfect for any child who is antsy or has difficulty being still, and Christina Wald’s magnificent illustrations manage to portray Henry’s impatience against the serenity of his surroundings.A wonderful read aloud and information book for everyone.

The National Writing for Children Center - June 5, 2009

Henry just cannot be still! He’s here, there, and everywhere, driving his parents and siblings crazy. And while other Great Blue Herons can stand still for hours, then strike out and catch a fish or salamander, Henry can only itch, twitch, scratch and flap. There’s just too much to do and too much to see to be still—at least until his tummy starts to grumble and rumble and he finds himself separated from his family and on his own. Then he quickly realizes that he must feed himself.

Henry has no luck as he wades, darts, twists, and bobs, frightening the fish away. Next, he tries to catch a salamander, then a frog, with comical results as he runs smack into a log. Poor Henry! Feeding himself is no easy task. However, the “log” he ran into is not a log at all. In fact, it’s the leg of The Great Blue Heron, the heron of all herons, and the true King of Camouflage.

Before he flies away, the kind older bird reveals to Henry his secret for staying still. The Great Blue Heron’s advice? The trick is to look like a stick! A fish is afraid of a heron, but not a stick. If Henry can stand very still, the fish will think his legs are sticks and he will have a chance to snag a meal.

Henry decides to give The Great Blue Heron’s suggestion a try. He finds an inlet and thinks to himself, I must think like a fish. I must look like a stick. Even though it’s getting dark and he’s cold and tired, he stands very still. And finally, just before daylight fades, a fish swims by. Quick as a flash, Henry strikes and catches his supper! Full, content, and proud of himself, he settles down to sleep. The impatient heron has learned a valuable life lesson. Sometimes we have to be patient and disciplined to get the result we desire!

Small children are wiggle worms as well! They are always on the move, and the word “patience” has yet to be added to their vocabulary. So they will certainly be able to identify with and be delighted by this wonderful tale about Henry, the Impatient Heron. And parents and teachers will also appreciate all the great educational information that is seamlessly interwoven into the captivating story—a trademark of all Arbordale titles. Readers are exposed to interesting facts about herons and their habitats, yet entertained by the charming story in the process.

And as always, there is a section in the back of the book called ‘For Creative Minds’ that provides optional educational activities, facts, and information. The illustrations by Christina Wald are exceptional and add lots of interest to the book. Learning at its best!

Montana Naturalist - Fall 2009

"Henry was a young heron, a Great Blue Heron that lived near a pond. His long, thin legs were great for wading, and his long, pointed bill was great for catching fish. But the young heron had a problem. He couldn't stand still." With that introduction, Donna Love tells the story of Henry, how he struggled to fit in and how he came to learn the most important lesson of his life. Along the way, young readers will learn a lot about herons - where they live, what they eat and how they behave - and perhaps learn a lesson in patience themselves. The illustrations by Christina Wald are lively and comical, and a section at the end of the book contains additional fun heron facts and more information about heron natural history.

Epinions - May 2009

Pros: Great Blue Heron facts, educational resources, dual lessons, illustrations

Cons: ...

The Bottom Line: The dual lessons provided in Henry The Impatient Heron provide memorable facts about a memorable bird as well as valuable life skills for young learners.

While introducing young readers to one of nature’s most magnificent and memorable birds, The Great Blue Heron, Donna Love, the author of Henry The Impatient Heron, offers these same readers opportunities to investigate strategies for sitting still.

We meet Henry, a fidgety young heron who just can’t sit still.  He tries, but everything on him wants to move and twitch.  While waiting for his parents to return to the nest with food he steps on his siblings’ heads. When they do return home he can’t hold still long enough to eat much. He’s easily distracted and when he begins learning to fly he flew off and failed to remember his return route.  Henry found himself needing to feed himself but he was so restless and impatient he scared away the food.

"He waded in the water, and looked and looked. His gray head darted this way and that watching below for a shiny fish to bolt between his skinny legs, but none did. His twisting neck and bobbing head frightened the fish away.”

With the turn of every page in this well crafted book children learn about Great Blue Herons: their appearance (adult and juvenile), adaptations, habitat, food, and family. They learn about various components of a wetland habitat.  But they also learn a lesson when Henry meets the King of the Herons (a.k.a. King of Camouflage) who provides him with a personal tip on how he mastered holding still. Achieving success on this necessary skill rewarded Henry not only with food but a survival strategy.

Donna Love’s story about Henry and his efforts to achieve the perfect heron pose obviously targets young fidgety children, especially those in early childhood and kindergarten classes.  I know from long experience with this age group most can’t sit still for long – developmentally no one should expect them to, but children need to learn the skills required for achieving success in school.  Sitting, listening, and learning are important school skills taught in pre-K and Kindergarten classrooms and very patient teachers.  Donna Love, along with Henry’s assistance, provides teachers opportunities to problem solve various strategies they can practice while enhancing their own concentration skills.  Initially teachers might think this book too wordy for restless readers, but the story flows fast thanks to some creative use of illustrations.

Thanks to Donna Love’s attention to accuracy and details Henry the Impatient Heron is not only a clever book that provides copious information about herons while simultaneously teaching a life-skills lesson -- it is also a beautiful book.  Illustrator Christina Wald carefully depicts the wetlands with attention to fish, amphibians, insects, and vegetation on every page.  The investigative eyes of young readers will be quick to share stories about many of the other inhabitants.  That is in part one of the hallmarks of Arbordale books.

About Arbordale Publishing’s Signature Resources: Following the story is a collection of resources teachers and parents can use to enrich Henry’s story.  These will lead readers back into the pages as they ponder answers and make connections.  Regular features in all Arbordale books include "For Creative Minds", "Food for Thought", and "Matching Activities.  Using illustrations and text, the publishers help children learn Great Blue Heron Facts (“the heron has a tiny bit of webbing between two of its front toes so it won’t sink into marshy ground” — could this open a discussion on adaptations?)  Readers are then asked to remember how Henry hunts while also reflecting upon food resources provided by the wetlands.

If educators visit www. they can take advantage of many other educational tools that complement this book:  online version of For Creative Minds (provides copy-ready content) also in Spanish, a collection of Teaching Activities, Quizzes, Alignment to Standards, Author Interview, and Related Websites. The websites provide appropriate material for guiding teachers as well as exciting children.  They also offer a list of National Parks and Wildlife Refuges with Herons.   Finally, as we wonder if what we teach is accurate (after all most Early Childhood teachers aren’t bird specialists), we are comforted by this statement: “Thanks to Susan Bonfield, Environment for the Americas, home of the International Migratory Bird Day, and Cathy Wakefield, Conservation Education Coordinator, The Nature Conservancy, Mad Island Marsh Preserve, for verifying the accuracy of the information in this book.”

The selection of the Great Blue Heron is appropriate for the age group targeted by this book (preschool through third grade) – it is one that has become fairly common in our skies, especially around any small or large bodies of water. It is also one that is large enough for children to observe and if found near a pond, and children can master holding still like the King of Herons, they will be rewarded with some time to fully observe the bird.  The facts provided will only enhance their experience. I’ve had the pleasure of introducing young children to Great Blue Herons and the expressions on their faces can be considered priceless.  I wish that this book had been available as a preparation or follow-up for those moments. For multiple reasons I highly recommend this clever book, Henry the Impatient Heron.

Book Loons Reviews - July 2012

Children love learning about animals and nature. Perhaps they've never seen a heron except in a book. Along with Christina Wald's excellent illustrations, Donna Love's simple story introduces children of five and up to this wetlands bird. Additional detailed information is included at the end of the story in the For Creative Minds section.

Judith Nasse, Children's Book Reviews - April 2009

Henry is born an impatient and fidgety heron, but his curiosity and movement keep him from being able to catch his food. What can Henry do? Then one day he meets a Great Blue Heron who is the king of camouflage. This is a delightful story that not only shows the nature and habitat of herons, but also helps children understand the qualities of patience. In her text Donna Love uses words to stretch the young child’s vocabulary, like Mallard, dragonfly, salamander, rookery, and impatient. She also uses words young children love to chant, like “Yuck.” Christina Wald’s illustrations are lively and detailed so that young pre-readers will pour over them learning just from the paintings. The activities at the end give you interesting facts, like the heron’s “backward facing” knee. This will be a great book for a unit on water birds. 3-7 year olds will appreciate this book on their own as well as reading it with parents or in reading circle at school.

Five Valleys Audubon Society Newsletter, MT - May 2009

Henry the Impatient Heron is the story about a hyper young heron that has trouble remaining calm and motionless, which interferes with his ability to catch his own food. After a little hunger sets in and a chance meeting with a Great Blue Heron, Henry learns the value and rewards of patience. Imaginatively written by Donna Love and beautifully illustrated by Christina Wald, the book is designed for children ages 4-8, but is fun for bird and nature lovers of all ages. The story offers important insight in the world of herons, while touching on one of the most important lessons we learn as children (and for some of us, as adults). In the back of the book, there are four pages of heron facts and topics for discussion that are fun and simple, making it easy for kids to understand. Henry the Impatient Heron is available through Arbordale Publishing, $16.95 for hardcover and $8.95 for paperback. You can purchase the book directly from the publisher at

Wild About Nature - May 28, 2009

Heron catch their food by standing still in shallow waters. Henry's parents and brothers and sisters could all successfully stand still and catch their meals. Henry, however, was a young impatient heron. He was too busy chasing, twisting and squawking to achieve this all important goal of catching something to eat. What would poor Henry do? Things begin to change for Henry when he gets some great advice from the king of camouflage. Henry listens and learns from his wise older friend. Henry's problem with impatience will resonate with all children, and they will come aay from this story knowing how, in the end, patience can help them to achieve their goals. The For Creative Minds section in the back of the book provides facts about herons along with information about their hunting habits, life cycle and habitat. For additional teaching activities, quizzes and related websites, go to the Arbordale website!

In the Pages blog - April 9, 2009

How often can you find a book about a heron!?!?! Not very - that's another reason I like this one! A great lesson on the subject of camouflage and the importance of being still - I love it!

Katie's Literature Lounge - April 20, 2009

Henry is a very impatient heron, as the title might alert you to! He's unable to stand still... for anything! Everyone in is family is upset with him because of his inability to stop moving long enough. One day, after being separated from his family and coming to the realization that he has to figure out how to get food for himself (an impossible task for an impatient heron), Henry enlists the help of The King. The King teaches Henry what to do - to look like a stick. Under water, a heron's legs looks like a stick and everyone knows that fish aren't afraid of sticks but are definitely afraid of herons. In the end, Henry's hard work and efforts pay off and he's able to catch a large fish. I had to opportunity to share this book with a group of 1st graders and they absolutely loved this... enough that they wanted to hear the story a second time! They loved the illustrations - the favorite in the class was when Henry's bill hit the bank when he was trying to catch a salamander. The kids also loved the page when Henry turned himself into a stick (one of them had actually guessed this was how he was going to catch a fish)! The story teaches children that hard work and effort pays off in the long run. I could see myself using this story to teach children about patience, as that is an important aspect of everyday life that children need to have a concept of (any teacher or parent knows that children need to have patience as we can only do so much at a time)!

Ready Set Read Reviews - March 2009

Henry the Great Blue Heron was always a fidgety bird. He loved to move, and could hardly stand to stay still in one place for more than a moment. From the time he was a baby his siblings and parents told him he needed to learn control, to focus on being calm. It was unbecoming of a Great Blue Heron to not be able to stay still. Having always been able to rely on others and their skills to feed and take care of him, how on earth would he ever catch a meal on his own if he didn't learn the patience necessary?

Well, the day comes when Henry finds himself lost and alone, having wandered away from his family while in pursuit of an eye catching dragonfly. As the day passes by, Henry tries on more than one occassion to find himself a tasty treat to satisfy the ache in his tummy. However unfortunate, Henry can't seem to catch even a frog. His inability to patiently stand still and wait for the right time to act creates too much commotion. Every creature that Henry sets his sights on senses his presence well before he makes his move to strike. Every time he thinks he's going to win, he's defeated again by his own clumsy, noisy, self. Whatever will Henry do?

Befuddled and certainly frustrated Henry is awestruck when he discovers himself in the waters alongside THE GREAT BLUE HERON the heron of all herons. Seeing Henry's dismay, The Great Blue Heron takes the opportunity to instill in Henry the understanding of how important the fine art of patience is. Giving him food for thought along with some helpful suggestions on how to curb his own impatience and hone his fishing skills, The Great Blue Heron takes his leave. The sun is about to set, but the hunger in Henry's stomach has only grown more with each passing hour. Can he put The Great Blue Heron's teaching to work? Can Henry once and for all be a patient bird capable of taking care of himself?

Young readers are going to enjoy this story because, like Henry, they are likely to understand firsthand the difficulty of staying still. In a world that's go go go, and full of instant gratification opportunities, learning to be patient can be one major struggle. It's such an important lesson to learn though, and Love's story does a great job of portraying both the negatives and positives of of patience. Those lacking the finer patience skills will benefit from seeing how with a little effort we can all learn to be patient and therein tackle even our greatest challenges.

The Creative Minds section in this book also deals up some great lessons on The Great Blue Herons themselves. With fun facts, a Heron life cycle matching game, and even info the Heron's habit children will be educated while being entertained. And with some thought provoking questions regarding pollution in the wetlands, parents will have the opportunity to discuss some of life's more meaningful issues. OUR RATING: 5 hearts

The Reading Tub - March 2009

Summary: Henry is a young heron. He's also a very fidgety heron, always stepping on his brother's and sister's head in the next. For months now, his mother has brought food to the nest to feed him. Now, he must go out on his own. Every time he tries to grab something to eat from the water, his meal escapes. The harder he tries, the hungrier he gets. When Henry runs into The Great Blue Heron, he learns a valuable lesson. This picture book wraps life lessons around factual information about Great Blue Herons.

Type of Reading: bedtime story, family reading, anytime reading, read aloud book

Recommended Age: read together: 5 to 8; read yourself: 9 to 12

Interest Level: 4 to 8

Reading Level: 4.9

Age of Child: Read with 7-year-old girl.

Little Kid Reaction: We have read this book several times, and each time we pick it up, our daughter announces (unprompted) that she is not like Henry. Then she wants to read it again.

Big Kid Reaction: Every parent and child can relate to Henry's predicament. Sometimes the harder we try, the less likely it seems that we'll reach our goal. The facts about Great Blue Herons are more subtle than other Arbordale books, but the material at the back makes up for that. The illustrations are beautiful and add a lot of context to the story.

Pros: Children will see themselves in Henry and enjoy this story of discovery and growth.

Cons: None, really.

Borrow or Buy: Borrow. This is a lovely story with beautiful pictures. It would be well suited for the public library or elementary school audience.

Educational Themes: Some of the themes discussed in the extra material are not raised in the story (e.g., wetlands conservation). The publisher has done an exceptional job linking them to the book and adding value for readers.

Marilyn Cook, Texas Council of Elementary Science

Hurry up! Hurry up! Come on and hurry up! Does this ever sound like an adult talking to children you know? Let’s be patient! Does that sound like you? What happens if you aren’t patient? Children can find out in an example while listening to or reading Henry the Impatient Heron. Henry the Heron is always hopping about and even though he tries his best to stand still when asked, he just can’t stand still. This becomes a problem when he has to find food for himself. At the pond he is so excited about seeing all the insects and animals that he looses track of time and also his family. He knows he would have to feed himself but how could he do it? Henry is hungry and tries his best to get food, however he just can’t seem to catch anything to eat. He runs into, literally, a great blue heron that helps him to learn to catch something to eat. This book is a delightful story with whole page captivating illustrations of all the animals that Henry meets along the way.  The author has included great blue heron facts, information about wetlands, a heron life cycle matching activity and the web site to find teaching activities that integrate other subjects. Whether living on the coast or inland, meeting Henry helps students learn about the calm fresh water or sea coast habitat as well as how a heron hunts for food. Henry also can provide a model of “learning to be patient” as well as learning about all the surrounding wonders.  This book could be used to compare and contrast other habitats where the students live. Also used with the set of bird books by Arbordale students could compare and contrast other birds to Henry.

Stories for Children Magazine - March 2009

Have you ever been driving by a wetlands area and seen a heron standing in the water on one foot? Why do they do that? Henry was a young Great Blue Heron who had a problem. He just couldn't stand still. He tried, but it seemed that his legs would twitch and his neck would itch and he would end up having to scratch himself. When the time came that Henry was able to fly away, he tried to catch a fish to eat. He went after a salamander for a tasty treat. He spied a plump little frog. But he was too impatient and lost them all. Finally, he came across The Great Blue Heron who was the King of Camouflage. Will he be able to help Henry learn how to stay still and get some food?

It seems that most children really enjoy learning about nature, especially different kinds of animals. Who would believe that the activities of a Great Blue Heron would be so interesting? In Henry the Impatient Heron, Donna Love gives youngsters an eminently readable story, accompanied by Christina Wald's life-like and eye-catching illustrations, that will acquaint them with all kinds of information about herons. Following the actual text, there are four pages of "For Creative Minds" exercises, including "Great Blue Heron Facts," explanation of "How Did Henry Hunt?", and a heron life cycle matching activity. Even more information about "Related Websites" and "Teaching Activities" can be found at Arbordale Publishing's website to help parents and teachers to expand the learning possibilities. I found this book to be absolutely fascinating.

Armchair Interviews - February 2009

Henry was always moving! He just couldn’t seem to stand still. Henry’s family admonished him for his impatience, but even that didn’t help. The problem is that herons must stand still (like a stick) in order to catch their food. Well, Henry didn’t know how to stand still! How would Henry learn to catch fish? Would he starve? It took the “King of Camouflage” to teach Henry how to act like a heron. Sometimes standing still like a stick is a good thing. Henry the Impatient Heron is informative and fun. While the illustrations are not very colorful, they demand the attention of both children and adults. My grandchildren (especially the four-year-old bird lover) were entranced. It holds an important position in the children’s library.

Armchair Interviews says: The fun facts and other creative facts make this book great for families, for home schoolers and school libraries. It’s a must have.

Run of the Mill blog - February 2009

We liked this one! This one is a little longer (but not too long) and it is not in rhyme. It's a nice story about a young heron who learns the importance of camouflage in order to survive on his own. The story book text teaches also about habitat, beginning of the heron life cycle, and the heron's diet. I am as pleased with the illustrations as I was with One Wolf Howls, and I found the text to be very good. I liked the break from the rhyme, and the story was educational but engaging. The back pages, For Creative Minds, has a very appealing layout that is easy to follow and peruse.The online teaching activities section has questions to ask, vocabulary activities, coloring pages, sequencing activities, and more. Some of these could be printed out and used in a lapbook; it definitely has enough information to make one, even if it's not pre-fab. In fact I think I will make one incorporating some of Sylvan's already provided print outs, and then, I'll post our finished project. This time I'm wishing that Sylvan included simple craft instructions to go along with the books in the teaching guide. I know, I am hard to please. I really do just love the online resources for all of the Sylvan books; there is just so much other stuff I would include, more hands on work, less written work. But I love love love the books.