On a crisp day in the middle of November, little Henry, a sweet hare, was contentedly hopping by.In the same way that you shouldn't include directions to the illustrator interlinearly with the text, you also shouldn't include them in the text.
Cut "a sweet hare". The fact that Henry's a bunny will be obvious to the child reader from the illustration, and will be intuited by the pre-illustration reader by "hopping". And "sweet" is just an unnecessary use of an adjective. Adjectives (and adverbs likewise) are candy--they're tempting, but they often aren't nearly as fortifying to your writing as a strong noun or verb would be.
I would also advise against "little". It reads as a deliberate attempt to make the main character cute, and that's the wrong approach. Your main character is not someone for your child reader to be entertained by. He is someone for your child reader to identify with-- he is a proxy for your reader, and deserves the same respect.
Unless you're building a very clear narrator's voice (as in Beatrix Potter), it's usually a good idea for the text to treat the main character the way he treats himself. So if Henry thinks of himself as "little" or "sweet", then you could bring that across (though, because most children would rather think of themselves as "big" and other dynamic adjectives, this attitude will not endear Henry to children), but if it's just that you want your reader to think he's "little" or "sweet", calling him that will not convince us. Show not tell.
Just as he hopped past little Marty the Maple Tree, Marty stopped him.Oh, no.
You've just run into a classic editor peeve-- and I mean pretty much all editors, not just me. Alliterative names.
I know, I know, there's nothing inherently wrong with alliterative names. And there are good examples of successful children's books whose character names alliterate.
But the impulse to name characters in this way is among the most common elements in the writing of amateurs. I know editors who will stop right there--and I'm one of them. So it's a good idea to avoid doing this in your submissions. Give your characters normal names, and wait until an editor wants the manuscript... and then talk to her about changing the names to more alliterative ones.
I would also suggest being careful with the idea of naming inanimate objects. Sometimes this works just fine, and sometimes it will throw the reader. Here I think it would be safest for submission purposes not to name the tree.
"Wait, Henry! Where are you going?" he asked him.Ok, that's really enough of that. There's no call to populate your story with solely those animals that match the adjectives you've thought of to go with them.
"I'm going to bring gifts of food and water to Mother Maple like we do each year," he told Marty.
Marty knew that every year all the happy hares, plump pigs, and silly squirrels, took gifts of food and water to Mother Maple. She was the tallest tree in the whole meadow. The meadow had many trees but none were as big as Mother Maple.
"Why do you take gifts to Mother Maple each year?" Marty asked Henry.
"Let me tell you a story," Henry told him as he parked his cotton-ball tail next to Marty.
I would suggest that when you revise this story, you go back and think about every word in it-- I guarantee your editor will be doing that-- and think hard about how/whether each word is truly serving the story you want to tell.