I'm 79 years old. I bought this book for myself and solely for the quality of the illustrations as I'd seen them on my laptop. I have also been to Concord, Massachusetts, and I've sat by the grave of Henry David Rousseau, whose works I have in my library. However, when I'd come to the end of this tale I found myself doubting the moral it was supposed to impart and instead felt greater admiration and respect for Henry's friend, who had done good deeds for others and had been fairly rewarded for his honest labour. He had 'earned' (in both senses) his trip to Fitchburg. This is a moral worth imparting. Henry, on the other hand, has indulged only himself and has simply followed his personal bliss. On not a single page has he done anything useful to other folk or other creatures. I have to say I that would feel more worthy if I was Henry's friend than if I were Henry. However, it's still a great 5 star book with two morals. Take your pick.
I heard about this book via the Brainpickings website and thought it would be great to mix a bit of philosophy into my daughter's bedtime reading. To be honest, I had not heard of the philosopher Thoreau before, but the principles of not allowing the drive of productivity (rat race) to prevent us from fully appreciating life as we live it are a salutary tale and depicted quite poignantly in this story. I'm not sure my 2 year old really got the drift of it yet, but I am sure it can be explained to an older child! As it had to be shipped from US, you need to order in advance, but I think it is a valuable life lesson with good illustrations. it is a good book as a gift as it has a memorable moral quality to it and is an easy read, not to mention a welcome break from the usual children's canon of Julia Donaldson, Peppa Pig etc!