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Dear Mr. Henshaw Library Binding – August 22, 1983
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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 --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
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.