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Dear Mr. Henshaw (Avon Camelot Books) Paperback – May 31, 2000

267 customer reviews
Book 1 of 2 in the Leigh Botts Series

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Editorial Reviews Review

When, in second grade, Leigh writes to an author to tell him how much he "licked" his book, he never suspects that he'll still be writing to him four years later. And he never imagines the kinds of things he'll be writing about:
Dear Mr. Henshaw, I am sorry I was rude in my last letter... Maybe I was mad about other things, like Dad forgetting to send this month's support payment. Mom tried to phone him at the trailer park where, as Mom says, he hangs his hat.
It's not easy being the new kid in town, with recently divorced parents, no dog anymore, and a lunch that gets stolen every day (all the "good stuff," anyway). Writing letters, first to the real Mr. Henshaw, and then in a diary to a pretend Mr. Henshaw, may be just what he needs.

This Newbery Medal-winning book, by the terrifically popular and prolific Beverly Cleary (Ramona Quimby, Age 8 and Runaway Ralph), exhibits a subtlety and sensitivity that will be appreciated by any youngster who feels lonely and troubled during the transition into adolescence. Winner of numerous other awards, including two Newbery Honors, Cleary teams up with Caldecott winner Paul O. Zelinsky, who creates a quiet backdrop for the realistic characters. (Ages 8 to 12) --Emilie Coulter


"A first-rate, poignant story ... a lovely, well-crafted, three-dimensional work." -- -- The New York Times Book Review

"Capably and unobtrusively structured as well as valid and realistic." -- -- Kirkus Reviews

"Cleary succeeds again. [Her] sense of humor leavens and lightens ..." -- -- School Library Journal

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Series: Avon Camelot Books
  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins; Reprint edition (May 31, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0380709589
  • ISBN-13: 978-0380709588
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.3 x 7.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (267 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #20,261 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Beverly Cleary's birthday, April 12th, is celebrated across the country on D.E.A.R. Day, with activities related to the Drop Everything and Read Program. One of the most popular and honored authors of all time, Beverly Cleary has won the Newbery Medal for Dear Mr. Henshaw, and both Ramona Quimby, Age 8 and Ramona and Her Father have been named Newbery Honor Books. She makes her home in coastal California.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on February 4, 2002
Format: Paperback
Leigh Botts was the only one in the class who still writes to his author that was suposed to be a one time deal. leigh writes to his favorite author, Mr. Henshaw. He gives him some tips on writing and ispires him to keep on writing. Leigh makes an alarm to solve the mystery of who was stealing part of his lunch. He gets an honorable mention in a writing contest and gets called an "author" by a real author. His mom and dad are divorced, and he lives with his mom; so he gets mad when his dad doesn't call or write. The rest is up to you to read! Dear Mr. Henshaw is recommended to people who like to read about authors, enjoy realistic fiction and like inspiring stories.
This book appeals to young people in grades 5 through 8, since Leigh is in the 6th grade. He goes through some of the things the people in this age group goes through. For instance, Leigh has a single mom and his dad is a cross-country truck driver. Also, he has to make new friends, and he discovers things about himself.
The story was written through letters to Mr. Henshaw, and later, Liegh wrote in his journal, writing to Mr. Henshaw on occasion. Liegh headed his letters "Dear Mr. Henshaw". He headed his journal entries,though,"Dear Mr. Pretend Henshaw".
The emotion in this story is mostly frusteration,like when Leigh doesn't like the fact that his dad doesn't call or write. He is also frusterated when he has to answer questions that Mr. Henshaw gives him.
Dear Mr. Henshaw is an excellant book that is good for an early-yeared teen who enjoys a book with emotion and likes reading about readers.
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22 of 25 people found the following review helpful By J.A. VINE VOICE on January 23, 2005
Format: Paperback
Dear Mr. Henshaw is a touching story, kind of a "coming-of-age" tale for an elementary school child. But instead of seeing this tale through a typical narrative, we see this character's growth through letters that he writes to his favorite author, Mr. Henshaw.

Cleary does a wonderful job demonstrating that growth, through decisions he makes and, most impressively, small, barely perceptible improvements in his writing.

I was quite surprised when Leigh expressed anger first at Mr. Henshaw for being late in answering the ten questions he sent him, and second for Mr. Henshaw asking Leigh to answer ten questions about himself. Leigh went from "Your friend", "Your Best Reader", to "Your Disgusted Reader".

One of the things that Mr. Henshaw suggested was that Leigh keep a journal. Leigh did so, and that's where we see the most tremendous growth of his character, as he talks about his feelings about his mom, his dad, and himself.

It's a wonderful book for kids, but also a terrific read for adults. Beverly Cleary never disappoints.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on January 25, 2007
Format: Paperback
Leigh Botts is a Boyd Henshaw fan since he was in second grade. Boyd Henshaw is a famous author who Leigh writes letters to almost every week. Leigh lives in his trailer with his mom who barely makes any money. Leigh is a super lonely kid and has no friends till a tiny miracle happens to his lunchbox. Leigh's dad drives a truck all day and Leigh is troubled by his father's absence. Leigh will finally learn to not always trust his dad. I recommend this book to ages 8 and up. I loved this book and hope you love it too.

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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Shauna Granger on November 26, 2002
Format: Paperback
A classic story that many children in today's society can really relate to with the rising divorce rate. Leigh speaks on their level, simply looking for some one to reach out to.
Dear Mr. Henshaw is a great book for kids that are having troubles with their life, like everyday children. Reading this book as an adult I associated it with my personal life. Leigh has problems with his parent's divorce, he hates not being able to see his dad. This leads him to a lot of emotional stress. Through this mess one of his teachers makes him write a letter to his favorite author. Leigh writes Mr. Henshaw a letter that asks him all sorts of questions about himself. After this the two of them write back and forth for a couple of years. This relationship gives Leigh confidence in himself when Mr. Henshaw tells Leigh that he should keep a journal. This journal allows Leigh to get his feelings out. Things stop bothering Leigh so much and by the end of the book he starts to enjoy his life more. This book is really good for an upper elementary child, and can even for an adult. Simplistic artwork for the cover, which demonstrates that this story is about an average boy.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Alisha on April 1, 2001
Format: Library Binding
This book is a great book for any child to read, but may be better associated with children experiencing the problems of divorce and of making friends. I enjoyed it because Clearly writes with a charisma that draws you into the books. I read it in one sitting and felt like the little boy, Leigh, was just about real because of all of the details that Clearly supplies, from his dog to the problems with his father, he is an accurate protrayal of a real child, and that is what makes this book a great buy and quality reading.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on January 29, 2003
Format: Paperback
The book I read was called Dear Mr. Henshaw, the author is Beverly Cleary. The genre of the book is realistic fiction and the publisher is Scholastic.
Beverly Cleary's style is different. Most of the book is written in letter form. You will find out about Leigh and his life by reading letters from Leigh to Mr.Henshaw, who is a childrens author. Leigh started writing to him about his favorite book (that Mr. Henshaw wrote)Ways to Amuse a Dog. Then, afterwards, they begin to be e-pals. The book changes form to personal narrative and Leigh shares parts of his diary in the book.
The book is about a boy named Leigh Botts whose parents are divorced. He wants them back together but they won't because they do not get along with each other and they always argue. He wants them to get back together because he wants to have a normal family and he wants a dad to help him build things,like a burgalar alarm for his lunch box.
Leigh Botts is a very nice 11 year old boy. He likes his dog, Bandit, but he never sees him because he lives with his dad (and Leigh lives with his mom.). He and his mom live in an apartment building next to the gas station so they can't have a dog. Leigh is sad about his parents being divorced and misses his dad.
My favorite part of the book was when Leigh writes about the book he really likes. He wrote he "licked" instead of "liked" and the whole class laughed and they actually licked the book! Can you imagine a class licking a book? Yuck!
The book made me feel happy and sad at the same time. I was happy when Leigh and his father met again. I can't imagine not having a father, it must be so hard. I became sad when his dad left and his parents didn't get re-married.
My opinion is that it is a great book! I think it is a good book because the author makes the book come alive and I would recommend this to kids between the ages of 8-11. If you like books with letters and diaries, then this is your kind of book!
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