Dear Mr. Henshaw

( 182 )

Overview

Dear Mr. Henshaw,

I wish somebody would stop stealing the good stuff out of my lunchbag. I guess I wish a lot of other things, too. I wish someday Dad and Bandit would pull up in front in the rig ... Dad would yell out of the cab, "Come on, Leigh. Hop in and I'll give you a lift to school."

Leigh Botts has been author Boyd Henshaw's number one fan ever since he was in second grade. Now in sixth grade, Leigh lives with his mother and is the new ...

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Dear Mr. Henshaw

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Overview

Dear Mr. Henshaw,

I wish somebody would stop stealing the good stuff out of my lunchbag. I guess I wish a lot of other things, too. I wish someday Dad and Bandit would pull up in front in the rig ... Dad would yell out of the cab, "Come on, Leigh. Hop in and I'll give you a lift to school."

Leigh Botts has been author Boyd Henshaw's number one fan ever since he was in second grade. Now in sixth grade, Leigh lives with his mother and is the new kid at school. He's lonely, troubled by the absence of his father, a cross-country trucker, and angry because a mysterious thief steals from his lunchbag. Then Leigh's teacher assigns a letter-writing project. Naturally Leigh chooses to write to Mr. Henshaw, whose surprising answer changes Leigh's life.

In his letters to his favorite author, ten-year-old Leigh reveals his problems in coping with his parents' divorce, being the new boy in school, and generally finding his own place in the world.

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Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
Cleary succeeds again. [Her] sense of humor leavens and lightens ...
New York Times Book Review
A first-rate, poignant story ... a lovely, well-crafted, three-dimensional work.
New York Times Book Review
A first-rate, poignant story ... a lovely, well-crafted, three-dimensional work.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This amusing, often touching series of letters from Leigh Botts to a children's book author he admires again demonstrates Cleary's right-on perception of a kid's world. Ages 8-12. (Aug.)
Children's Literature - Children's Literature
Awarded since 1922, the John Newbery Medal, given each year by the American Library Association to the most distinguished children's book published in America, has a long, illustrious history. The resulting publicity and opportunity to apply that famous gold seal to the cover of the book usually mean instant popularity for and sustained interest in the winning title. Many Newbery winners find their way onto recommended reading lists for schools and libraries. Sometimes changes in society and popular culture reduce the books' impacts on today's audience, but in many cases even the passing of years does not diminish their effect. Happily, Dear Mr. Henshaw, the Newbery winner in 1984, holds up very well. The poignant story of a young boy's family facing separation, divorce and moving to a new town and school, rings true today. Written as a series of letters and diary entries addressed to his favorite author, Cleary's realistic novel clearly opens Leigh's life to readers. Missing his dad and his dog, dealing with an unknown lunch thief, trying to make new friends, worrying about his mother working so hard and being so lonely, wishing for a better life, wondering about how to become a writer himself, Leigh is presented as one of us--imperfect, but trying and growing. Leigh's story is certainly still worthy of attention. 2000 (orig. 1983), HarperTrophy, Ages 8 to 12, $4.95. Reviewer: Donna T. Brumby
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780380709588
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 5/28/2000
  • Series: Cleary Reissue Series
  • Pages: 160
  • Sales rank: 28,801
  • Age range: 9 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.12 (w) x 7.62 (h) x 0.32 (d)

Meet the Author

Beverly Cleary

Beverly Cleary is one of America's most popular authors. Born in McMinnville, Oregon, she lived on a farm in Yamhill until she was six and then moved to Portland. After college, as the children's librarian in Yakima, Washington, she was challenged to find stories for non-readers. She wrote her first book, Henry Huggins, inresponse to a boy's question, "Where are the books about kids like us?"

Mrs. Cleary's books have earned her many prestigious awards, including the Amercan Library Association's Laura Ingalls Wilder Award, presented in recognition of her lasting contribution to children's literature.

Her Dear Mr. Henshaw was awarded the 1984 John Newbery Medal, and both Ramona Quimby, Age 8 and Ramona and Her Father have been named Newbery Honor Books. In addition, her books have won more than thirty-five statewide awards based on the votes of her young readers. Her characters, including Henry Huggins, Ellen Tebbits, Otis Spofford, and Beezus and Ramona Quimby, as well as Ribsy, Socks, and Ralph S. Mouse, have delighted children for generations. Mrs. Cleary lives in coastal California.

Paul O. Zelinsky is the illustrator of Anne Isaac's Dust Devil and creator of the now-classic interactive book called The Wheels on the Bus. His retelling of Rapunzel was awarded the 1998 Caldecott Medal. Rumpelstitlskin, Hansel and Gretel and Swamp Angel with different authors all garnered Paul a Caldecott Honor. Since 1991 Paul O. Zelinsky has lived in the same apartment with his wife Deborah in northern Brooklyn, New York.

Biography

Beverly Cleary was inadvertently doing market research for her books before she wrote them, as a young children’s librarian in Yakima, Washington. Cleary heard a lot about what kids were and weren’t responding to in literature, and she thought of her library patrons when she later sat down to write her first book.

Henry Huggins, published in 1950, was an effort to represent kids like the ones in Yakima and like the ones in her childhood neighborhood in Oregon. The bunch from Klickitat Street live in modest houses in a quiet neighborhood, but they’re busy: busy with rambunctious dogs (one Ribsy, to be precise), paper routes, robot building, school, bicycle acquisitions, and other projects. Cleary was particularly sensitive to the boys from her library days who complained that they could find nothing of interest to read – and Ralph and the Motorcycle was inspired by her son, who in fourth grade said he wanted to read about motorcycles. Fifteen years after her Henry books, Cleary would concoct the delightful story of a boy who teaches Ralph to ride his red toy motorcycle.

Cleary’s best known character, however, is a girl: Ramona Quimby, the sometimes difficult but always entertaining little sister whom Cleary follows from kindergarten to fourth grade in a series of books. Ramona is a Henry Huggins neighbor who, with her sister, got her first proper introduction in Beezus and Ramona, adding a dimension of sibling dynamics to the adventures on Klickitat Street. Cleary’s stories, so simple and so true, deftly portrayed the exasperation and exuberance of being a kid. Finally, an author seemed to understand perfectly about bossy/pesty siblings, unfair teachers, playmate politics, the joys of clubhouses and the perils of sub-mattress monsters.

Cleary is one of the rare children’s authors who has been able to engage both boys and girls on their own terms, mostly through either Henry Huggins or Ramona and Beezus. She has not limited herself to those characters, though. In 1983, she won the Newbery Medal with Dear Mr. Henshaw, the story of a boy coping with his parents’ divorce, as told through his journal entries and correspondence with his favorite author. She has also written a few books for older girls (Fifteen, The Luckiest Girl, Sister of the Bride, and Jean and Johnny) mostly focusing on first love and family relationships. A set of books for beginning readers stars four-year-old twins Jimmy and Janet.

Some of Cleary’s books – particularly her titles for young adults – may seem somewhat alien to kids whose daily lives don’t feature soda fountains, bottles of ink, or even learning cursive. Still, the author’s stories and characters stand the test of time; and she nails the basic concerns of childhood and adolescence. Her books (particularly the more modern Ramona series, which touches on the repercussions of a father’s job loss and a mother’s return to work) remain relevant classics.

Cleary has said in an essay that she wrote her two autobiographical books, A Girl from Yamhill and My Own Two Feet, "because I wanted to tell young readers what life was like in safer, simpler, less-prosperous times, so different from today." She has conveyed that safer, simpler era -- still fraught with its own timeless concerns -- to children in her fiction as well, more than half a century after her first books were released.

Good To Know

Word processing is not Cleary's style. She writes, "I write in longhand on yellow legal pads. Some pages turn out right the first time (hooray!), some pages I revise once or twice and some I revise half-a-dozen times. I then attack my enemy the typewriter and produce a badly typed manuscript which I take to a typist whose fingers somehow hit the right keys. No, I do not use a computer. Everybody asks."

Cleary usually starts her books on January 2.

Up until she was six, Cleary lived in Yamhill, Oregon -- a town so small it had no library. Cleary's mother took up the job of librarian, asking for books to be sent from the state branch and lending them out from a lodge room over a bank. It was, Clearly remembers, "a dingy room filled with shabby leather-covered chairs and smelling of stale cigar smoke. The books were shelved in a donated china cabinet. It was there I made the most magical discovery: There were books written especially for children!"

Cleary authored a series of tie-in books in the early 1960s for classic TV show Leave It to Beaver.

Cleary's books appear in over 20 countries in 14 languages.

Cleary's book The Luckiest Girl is based in part on her own young adulthood, when a cousin of her mother's offered to take Beverly for the summer and have her attend Chaffey Junior College in Ontario, California. Cleary went from there to the University of California at Berkeley.

The actress Sarah Polley got her start playing Ramona in the late ‘80s TV series. Says Cleary in a Q & A on her web site: “I won’t let go of the rights for television productions unless I have script approval. There have been companies that have wanted the movie rights to Ramona, but they won’t let me have script approval, and so I say no. I did have script approval for the television productions of the Ramona series…. I thought Sarah Polley was a good little actress, a real little professional.”

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    1. Also Known As:
      Beverly Atlee Bunn (birth name)
    2. Hometown:
      Carmel, California
    1. Date of Birth:
      April 12, 1916
    2. Place of Birth:
      McMinnville, Oregon
    1. Education:
      B.A., University of California-Berkeley, 1938; B.A. in librarianship, University of Washington (Seattle), 1939

Read an Excerpt

Dear Mr. Henshaw AER
May 12

Dear Mr. Henshaw,

My teacher read your book about the dog to our class. It was funny. We licked it.

Your freind,
Leigh Botts (boy)

December 3

Dear Mr. Henshaw,

I am the boy who wrote to you last year when I was in the second grade. Maybe you didn't get my letter. This year I read the book I wrote to you about called Ways to Amuse a Dog. It is the first thick book with chapters that I have read.

The boy's father said city dogs were bored so Joe could not keep the dog unless he could think up seven ways to amuse it. I have a black dog. His name is Bandit. He is a nice dog.

If you answer I get to put your letter on the bulletin board.

My teacher taught me a trick about friend. The i goes before e so that at the end it will spell end.

Keep in tutch.

Your friend,
Leigh (Lee) Botts

November 13

Dear Mr. Henshaw,

I am in the fourth grade now. I made a diorama of Ways to Amuse a Dog, the book I wrote to you about two times before. Now our teacher is making us write to authors for Book Week. I got your answer to my letter last year, but it was only printed. Please would you write to me in your own handwriting? I am a great enjoyer of your books.

My favorite character in the book was Joe's Dad because he didn't get mad when Joe amused his dog by playing a tape of a lady singing, and his dog sat and howled like he was singing, too. Bandit does the same thing when he hears singing.

Your best reader,
Leigh Botts

December 2

Dear Mr. Henshaw,

I got to thinking about Ways to Amuse a Dog.When Joe took his dog to the park and taught him to slide down the slide, wouldn't some grownup come along and say he couldn't let his dog use the slide? Around here grownups, who are mostly real old with cats, get mad if dogs aren't on leashes every minute. I hate living in a mobile home park.

I saw your picture on the back of the book. When I grow up I want to be a famous book writer with a beard like you.

I am sending you my picture. It is last year's picture. My hair is longer now. With all the millions of kids in the U.S., how would you know who I am if I don't send you my picture?

Your favorite reader,
Leigh Botts

Enclosure: Picture of me. (We are studying business letters.)

October 2

Dear Mr. Henshaw,

I am in the fifth grade now. You might like to know that I gave a book report on Ways to Amuse a Dog. The class liked it. I got an A-. The minus was because the teacher said I didn't stand on both feet.

Sincerely,
Leigh Botts

November 7

Dear Mr. Henshaw,

I got your letter and did what you said. I read a different book by you. I read Moose on Toast. I liked it almost as much as Ways to Amuse a Dog. It was really funny the way the boy's mother tried to think up ways to cook the moose meat they had in their freezer. 1000 pounds is a lot of moose. Mooseburgers, moose stew and moose meat loaf don't sound too bad. Maybe moose mincemeat pie would be OK because with all the raisins and junk you wouldn't know you were eating moose. Creamed chipped moose on toast, yuck.

I don't think the boy's father should have shot the moose, but I guess there are plenty of moose up there in Alaska, and maybe they needed it for food.

If my Dad shot a moose I would feed the tough parts to my dog Bandit.

Your number 1 fan,
Leigh Botts

September 20

Dear Mr. Henshaw,

This year I am in the sixth grade in a new school in a different town. Our teacher is making us do author reports to improve our writing skills, so of course I thought of you. Please answer the following questions.

  1. How many books have you written?
  2. Is Boyd Henshaw your real name or is it fake?
  3. Why do you write books for children?
  4. Where do you get your ideas?
  5. Do you have any kids?
  6. What is your favorite book that you wrote?
  7. Do you like to write books?
  8. What is the title of your next book?
  9. What is your favorite animal?
  10. Please give me some tips on how to write a book. This is important to me. I really want to know so I can get to be a famous author and write books exactly like yours.

Please send me a list of your books that you wrote, an autographed picture and a bookmark. I need your answer by next Friday. This is urgent!

Sincerely,
Leigh Botts

De Liver
De Letter
De Sooner
De Better
De Later
De Letter
De Madder
I Getter

Dear Mr. Henshaw AER
. Copyright © by Beverly Cleary. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 182 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(106)

4 Star

(30)

3 Star

(12)

2 Star

(9)

1 Star

(25)

Your Rating:

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 183 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 22, 2011

    Reviewer/Publisher

    I think it was very good and they should make another book or a sequel about it.

    17 out of 21 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 7, 2012

    Okay

    Wish their was a second

    12 out of 22 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 25, 2008

    Pathetic Literary Attempt

    When I was in fourth grade, I had to read this book for a Gifted and Talented English class I was in and I absolutely hated it. A year ago, I figured i might read it again because it is a small novel and being in eight grade I thought I might enjoy it more. Unfortunately, I didn't. The writing was very basic, as was the story, and possesed no qualities that a good book should. I don't even understand reading this book for school because it promotes no qualities other than hoping for something and then being set up for disappointment. Honestly, if you have any regard for a good book, don't read this one. The story is terrible and you do not have to have a very large vocabulary to read it. Notice how all of the people who gave this book five stars just summarized it? Thats because there are no qualities that anyone could really enjoy.

    12 out of 33 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 22, 2012

    OMG!

    I felt so bad for Lee.The book is sad if you don't like sad stories you should not read the book.I still like the book.

    11 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 10, 2011

    Great

    I loved this book

    9 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 28, 2011

    Great book

    I like that it is funny and not boring. I have to read for school and its not that bad.

    9 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 27, 2010

    deer mistr hanshaw

    hey whats up thanks this book is magical amazing fun and active specal thanks too mcklu mommy dada and arik

    9 out of 16 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 4, 2012

    Love it

    I read this book in 3rd grade i loved it but its esay i recamed it to 2nd and 3rd graders

    7 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 17, 2012

    Awesome

    I liked the book but the ending is sad. : (

    7 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 25, 2011

    Eh

    Ok but very short

    5 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 14, 2005

    Dear Mr. Book Review

    Dear Mr. Henshaw, by Beverly Cleary, I give five star rating because the realness of the book. Leigh is my favorite character because what happened in the book to him really explains to the reader what happens in the everyday life of a kid. Like having all of the good stuff out of your lunch everyday. Also possibly having your parents divorced. Or not even having any friends. I Like Leigh¿s mom a lot too. She was so about everything he does. Like a real mother should do. Dad was okay but he was so in love with his truck for me to like him a lot. Another reason I gave the book five stars is because of the plot and the flow of the story. I liked Leigh¿s story, ¿A Day on Dad¿s Rig.¿ I was glad he got to go to lunch even if it was with Angela Badger. It was also kind of cool how he made an alarm inside of his lunchbox. He made some friends by doing that. I was happy for Leigh when his dad came home. Especially with Bandit. It was sad though because his mom and dad would not get back together. Well, that is why I gave this book five stars.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 28, 2012

    Good but could be better

    Ive read this book and its good it gets a little cheesy at the end but otherwise its ok

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 7, 2012

    Good read

    This book is great for kids

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 3, 2012

    Anonymous

    Great Book!!!

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 5, 2012

    Dear Mr.Henshaw

    Love baeverly clearly books

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 8, 2012

    Okay i guess

    Well its okay but not great. I read it in fourth grade and i thought it was fine in a bad way

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 16, 2012

    Dear mr henshaw

    You suck from nelson

    2 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 16, 2012

    Awsome

    It is awesome book. Mr. Henshaw has a better relationship than his own dad does.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 1, 2012

    Anoynomus

    AWFUL!!!!

    2 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 17, 2011

    love it

    i love this book. i coulnt take my eyes off of it

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 183 Customer Reviews

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