Henry and the Red Stripes

by Eileen Christelow

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 1982
ISBN-10: 0899191185
ISBN-13: 978-0899191188

““Little kids will bust their buttons, laughing at the predicament that stubborn Henry Rabbit gets into… Christelow’s telling is jet-propelled and enhanced by pictures that are delicious, especially in close-ups revealing the characters’ changing expressions.” — Publishers Weekly

“The light tone of the text and illustrations demonstrate the importance of camouflage in a very appealing manner.” — School Library Journal

— Nominated for the Nebraska Golden Sower Award
— Winner of Wisconsin’s Little Archer Award
— Junior Library Guild selection

The Story:

When Henry Rabbit paints a picture of himself with red stripes, his parents tell him that “…rabbits are brown all over—the color of dry leaves. Rabbits don’t have stripes.” Henry insists, “They can if they want to!” But when he paints himself with red stripes, and dances around in the woods, he quickly discovers why rabbits should not have red stripes.

A bit of luck and quick thinking on Henry’s part enable him to escape from a hungry Mr Fox and his wife’s soup pot.

Lesson learned—more or less. Henry sometimes still likes to paint himself with red stripes —but only in the house. When he is outside, he wears his plain brown fur which is the color of dry leaves, twigs and bark.

The bad old days of illustration:

Back in 1982 illustrators of children’s books — especially those just starting their careers — were expected to “pre-separate” the art. Today computers do this job. But back then, it was expensive; so most illustrators were expected to do the tedious work. (See examples below.)

Pre-separating the artwork

I chose three colors for Henry and the Red Stripes: black, yellow-brown and, of course, red.

First I drew the picture with a dark black pencil and a wash of black watercolor.

Next, I put my drawing on the light box and put another piece of paper over my drawing. I painted all the yellow-brown colors: Henry’s fur, the dry leaves…in black watercolor.

Then I painted all the red places on another sheet of paper—again using black watercolor.

Then all those drawings were sent to the printer. And this is what came back.

More Books