Andrew Henry’s Meadow, written and illustrated by Doris Burn. I talked about this book before, but it’s well worth another look.
Andrew Henry, a middle child, kept himself busy by inventing things; much to the displeasure of his family. They didn’t appreciate any of the Rube Goldberg type creations that he would build in the house. After having his creativity stifled so many times, he decided to run away and build himself a home in a nearby meadow where he could invent anything he pleased without getting yelled at by his parents and siblings. Soon after he built his house, other misunderstood children came to the meadow needing a place to “be themselves.” Henry built each child a dwelling that suited their eccentricities.
The story did end with a happy ending. The children went back home with their families who realized a new appreciation for their children’s hobbies.
Andrew Henry’s Meadow was one of my all-time favorite books as a child. The pen and ink sketches were so detailed I would get lost in them. I would study the machines that Henry made, following the ropes and pulleys with my finger, imagining the gears turning, and the belts pulling. I imagined making machines like that myself; my mom had a treadle sewing machine, just like the one Henry’s mom had. And the houses he built for the children! What kid wouldn’t want to live in a tree, on a river, in a castle, or underground? I wondered what kind of house Henry would have built me – if only I could find his meadow. Sigh.
I love this book! As an adult, I still enjoy reading it and studying the illustrations.