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Dear Mr. Henshaw Paperback – May 31, 2000

4.4 out of 5 stars 285 customer reviews
Book 1 of 2 in the Leigh Botts Series

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com 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

Review

"A first-rate, poignant story ... a lovely, well-crafted, three-dimensional work."-- "The New York Times Book Review""Cleary succeeds again. [Her] sense of humor leavens and lightens ..."-- "School Library Journal""Capably and unobtrusively structured as well as valid and realistic."-- "Kirkus Reviews"
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 910 (What's this?)
  • 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: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (285 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #12,818 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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.

~Cadid
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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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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I love this book; I read it to my 4th graders every year. I was a little skeptical about replacing my read-aloud with a book on tape, but I find the students are much more engaged and follow along better in their own copies of the book while listening to the CD. Plus, I'm better able to monitor student behavior and conference one-on-one during this time. A great story, made even better!
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Format: Paperback
The first thing to know about this book is that it is not at all similar to Beverly Cleary's other books -- Beezus, Ramona, Henry, that whole gang are not here. This book is truly poignant. The tone, the subject matter, the style, everything about this book is more serious and thoughtful than the other books which are delightful, lighthearted, fun.

Now that you know that, it's also good to know that this book is beautifully written and tells a moving story of a boy coming to grips with his parents' relationship and how it has and will affect his life. There is humor in the book, and it's not all doom and gloom, but the boy's feelings are vividly expressed, and often he's isolated, confused, and sad. If you are a parent, I'd recommend that you read the book too so that your child can talk to you about it. For kids who've experienced divorce or an adult who has seriously disappointed them, this book may bring up strong feelings. For kids who haven't experienced any of this (yet), it will help them to understand that the story is something that really could happen, and maybe to help them feel grateful for the family life they have.
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