Like tons of others, I gobbled up all things Beverly Cleary when I was a kid; I laughed at Ramona’s antics, wanted a dog like Ribsy, wanted a paper route like Henry Huggins…and maybe had a secret crush on him too. There was something familiar about Cleary’s writing, something that sucked you in and made you feel at home, so I was glad to be returning to her work when I picked up Dear Mr. Henshaw, 1984’s Newbery winner. (Cleary also has two Newbery Honors for Ramona and Her Father (1978) and Ramona Quimby, Age 8 (1982).Having read Dear Mr. Henshaw so long ago I only had a vague memory of what it was about: a boy writing letters to his favorite author, Mr. Henshaw. I didn’t remember the kid angst and emotions that Cleary gracefully portrays through her protagonist, Leigh Botts,who is struggling with being the new kid in town, his parents’ divorce, and a lunch thief—favorite part of the book, the lunch box alarm.
I enjoyed rereading this book and the jog down memory lane—thinking back on a younger version of me flopped on a bed reading. I still love this book. Would I recommend it to kids? Sure.
Ages: Amazon suggests 10 and up, I read this when I was 8.Sequels: Strider