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Dear Mr. Henshaw

Dear Mr. Henshaw

4.0 185
by Beverly Cleary, Paul Zelinsky (Illustrator)

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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


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.

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.
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

Product Details

Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.91(w) x 8.38(h) x 0.59(d)
Age Range:
9 - 12 Years

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.

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!

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.

Meet the Author

Beverly Cleary is one of America's most beloved authors. As a child, she struggled with reading and writing. But by third grade, after spending much time in her public library in Portland, Oregon, she found her skills had greatly improved. Before long, her school librarian was saying that she should write children's books when she grew up.

Instead she became a librarian. When a young boy asked her, "Where are the books about kids like us?" she remembered her teacher's encouragement and was inspired to write the books she'd longed to read but couldn't find when she was younger. She based her funny stories on her own neighborhood experiences and the sort of children she knew. And so, the Klickitat Street gang was born!

Mrs. Cleary's books have earned her many prestigious awards, including the American Library Association's Laura Ingalls Wilder Award, presented to her in recognition of her lasting contribution to children's literature. Dear Mr. Henshaw won the Newbery Medal, and Ramona Quimby, Age 8 and Ramona and Her Father have been named Newbery Honor Books. Her characters, including Beezus and Ramona Quimby, Henry Huggins, and Ralph, the motorcycle-riding mouse, have delighted children for generations.

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.

Brief Biography

Carmel, California
Date of Birth:
April 12, 1916
Place of Birth:
McMinnville, Oregon
B.A., University of California-Berkeley, 1938; B.A. in librarianship, University of Washington (Seattle), 1939

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Dear Mr. Henshaw 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 185 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I think it was very good and they should make another book or a sequel about it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Mirvette Badal More than 1 year ago
I like that it is funny and not boring. I have to read for school and its not that bad.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I liked the book but the ending is sad. : (
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read this book in 3rd grade i loved it but its esay i recamed it to 2nd and 3rd graders
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wish their was a second
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
hey whats up thanks this book is magical amazing fun and active specal thanks too mcklu mommy dada and arik
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Cool book had to read it this year in 4th grade
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Ive read this book and its good it gets a little cheesy at the end but otherwise its ok
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is great for kids
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Well its okay but not great. I read it in fourth grade and i thought it was fine in a bad way
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It is awesome book. Mr. Henshaw has a better relationship than his own dad does.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A great book for young readers & more than worthy of the Newberry Medal!
Tammy Prokopis More than 1 year ago
i love this book. i coulnt take my eyes off of it
Sophia Louwagie More than 1 year ago
i love this book! it is very fasinating!u should read it!:);)
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was very disappointed in this book. This is one of those Very Special books that is meant to help children cope with Meaningful Issues. Most of Beverly Cleary's books seem designed to entertain, although I must say she got more bogged down in social issues even in the later Ramona books (Oh no! Dad lost his job! How will the family cope?) instead of telling us something funny about Ramona and a boy she has a crush on, which would be a much more realistic concern for a typically self-centered child. I can see why she originally published this under a different name, because it's such an afterschool-special type of story, and not what most people would be looking for from her. In my opinion, sometimes adults place too much importance on issues they think should concern children, and that's how a book like this wins an award. Very few children would ever pick this book up and read it for its entertainment value alone. It's purely an assignment type of book.
Anonymous 10 months ago
I read this book when I was in the fourth grade and that was in 2004. This book is amazing. Still my favorite book of all time since I was little.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The only thing it talks about is a kid sending and receiving letters from his favorite author, Mr Henshaw. This is the only terrible book by Beverly Cleary. Her others are very good.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Leigh Botts is a boy writing to his favorite author. going though weird things in his own life. Leigh is getting his lunch stolen , is he going to find the thief? Leigh has a diary that he keeps and always writes in. Leigh has divorce parents. and his dad s always on the road and took there dog bandit with him. Leigh misses both of them. are they ever going to come back? I would give this book 4.5 stars. It's filled with sadness and happiness I like it because it's really interesting. this book is more for ages 8 to 10 . but I still like liked it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It was a good book except that it was only letters to Mr. Henshaw or to Mr. Pretend Henshaw.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read this book for my 3rd grade book report and I thought it was amazing. The book is about Leigh Botts writing letters to Mr. Henshaw. I think people should read this book because it is well-written and could make people smarter because they could learn how to write letters. While I was reading I felt like I wanted to be friends with Mr. Henshaw. The one part I didn't like was that a thief stole the best food from Leigh Botts. Overall, I think this book is the best book ever!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Even my brother who hates to read enjoyed this book!