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Dear Mr. Henshaw by Beverly Cleary

Dear Mr. Henshaw (1983)

by Beverly Cleary

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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Showing 1-5 of 100 (next | show all)
I read this book when I was in 5th grade and, now having picked it up again I really did not remember it being so deep. Divorce, a strained relationships with parents and just having to move on as things change. To me, this is to boys what Esperanza Rising is to girls.

My only complaint about the story is that the in oder to convey Voice to the narrator, the text and tone are dumbed-down (somewhat). That said, there was a lot of potential for a sad story, however, it comes off as a sweet testament to the trials of life.

The big idea here is that life doesn't always give us the answers we are looking for in a clear path. Sometimes it takes a while and sometimes we may not really know.

Great Book! ( )
  pcadig1 | Mar 5, 2015 |
While reading “Dear Mr. Henshaw”, I got so caught up in the story of Leigh’s life as it unfolded in letters that I forgot the book wasn’t really written by its main character, Leigh but by Beverly Cleary – she is just that talented. Beginning in second grade and continuing for the next four years, Leigh writes letters to his favorite author, Mr. Henshaw. Some of the letters he mails others he doesn’t and these function as his diary. Leigh uses his correspondence with Mr. Henshaw as a way to work through family and school problems large and small. ( )
  knitwit2 | Dec 20, 2014 |
I think this is a fantastic book to read in the classroom when teaching students about letter-writing. In this novel Leigh is writing to his favorite author Mr. Henshaw for a school assignment. Mr. Henshaw writes back to Leigh and asks him questions to get to know Leigh better. During this process Leigh starts to keep a journal and writes about his everyday experiences at school and home. Leigh's parents are divorced and his dad is a truck driver and his mother works at a catering business and supports Leigh on her own. Children with divorced parents could relate to this novel. This novel is also very gender neutral. It is not a book that only girls will identify with or only boys. ( )
  bmsherid | Nov 11, 2014 |
Summary: This book is composed of letters and diary entries written by a sixth grade boy named Leigh. He writes letters to Boyd Henshaw the author of his favorite book "Ways to Amuse a Dog". At first he writes the letters because his teachers want him to write letters to an author to learn more about them and their writing process. When Leigh asks Mr. Henshaw questions about his writing he responds with questions of his own. Leigh does not want to answer the questions but his mother makes him. Leigh continues to write to Mr. Henshaw about his own personal writing and how he can write his own stories. Mr. Henshaw encourages Leigh to start a diary so that he can write about his daily experiences. Through the diary entries we learn more about the divorce of Leigh's parents. We also learn that Leigh resents his dad for leaving and not calling or visiting very often. Leigh also reaches out to Mr. Henshaw because he is struggling to write something for the Young Writers' Yearbook. Mr. Henshaw helps him to realize that he needs to write from personal experiences rather than trying to copy the style of any other author. At school Leigh is struggling to make new friends and someone is always stealing food out of his lunchbox. He makes an alarm to put in his lunchbox. Through the alarm fiasco at lunch he makes a friend named Barry who he begins to spend time with. At the end of the story his father comes to visit him which makes Leigh happy.

Review: I thought this book was very interesting. I had never actually read a chapter book by Beverly Cleary which is surprising because they are so popular. I liked how the whole book was written as either letters or diary entries. This seemed to help the reader follow along with the story and what was going on in relation to the time of year. I liked that the author did not include any letters written by Mr. Henshaw and we only heard bits and pieces of what he said from Leigh. This kept a sense of mystery about him especially because his letters were infrequent and they usually came in the form of a postcard. I like how the reader is able to watch Leigh grow and change throughout the story. I think Leigh is a character many students could relate to. I liked that there were a few illustrations that broke up the text but were closely related to what was going on in the story at the time. ( )
  kkerns3 | Oct 28, 2014 |
Newbery Winner, 1984 Leigh's parents are divorced. A lot of the novel is spent in Leigh's internal struggle to understand his father and his inconsistent involvement in his life. (As well as Leigh's quest to solve a lunch box thieving mystery). The fact that this story deals with some heavy issues is tempered by the humor Cleary brings to the story.
  bp0128bd | Jan 24, 2014 |
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» Add other authors (3 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Beverly Clearyprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Zelinsky, Paul O.Illustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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First words
Dear Mr. Henshaw,
My teacher read your book about the dog to our class.
Dear Mr. Henshaw,
When you answered my questions, you said the way to be get to be an author was to write.
My story is about a man ten feet tall who drives a big truck, the kind my Dad drives. The man is made of wax, and every time he crosses the desert, he melts a little.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
this story is about a boy who writes his favorite author as a way of coping with his parents divorce and his life changes.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0380709589, Paperback)

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

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 14:00:50 -0400)

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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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