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Dear Mr. Henshaw (1983)

by Beverly Cleary

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Leigh Botts (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
5,8721341,221 (3.86)62
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.
Recently added byBurkha47, agkean94, lcslibrarian, private library

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» See also 62 mentions

English (133)  Tagalog (1)  All languages (134)
Showing 1-5 of 133 (next | show all)
Good Middle Grade story told entirely in a series of letters and diary entries. I remember having read this before in school, but I don't remember anything else about it. There's more depth to this story than I had expected. It holds up really well for a 36-year-old book. ( )
  ca.bookwyrm | May 18, 2020 |
A story formed of letters from a young boy to his favorite author who teaches him how to write down his feelings. Covers divorce, lunch-stealing, loneliness and being a new kid. Newbery Winner ( )
  LindaLeeJacobs | Feb 15, 2020 |
  PCA-Library | May 21, 2019 |
At least twice during school, my reading textbook contained an excerpt from this. And both times it was the part where the boy gets to go to lunch with an author. Now I finally read it.

That excerpt is nothing like the book.

Well, maybe a little. It is about a young boy who writes letters to an author. They start as “fan mail/questions”. Then it becomes personal stuff about his life–way too personal–that transforms into essentially a diary, or shouting into the wind. And it’s in epistolary format, so it’s fun to see his writing style evolve over time. I was under the impression that Mr. Henshaw never responds to the boy, but in fact he does. You just don’t see those responses. But writing is not what the book is about.

It’s about his coming to terms with his parents’ divorce and his deadbeat truck driver father. A bit cliche now, but not so much when this was written. I don’t know why, but something felt off about this book. Maybe it was my expectations that it would be about a boy becoming a writer and then being delivered a bildrungsoman. Maybe I couldn’t much relate to the boy. He’s living in a trailer and he’s constantly talking about his father–if he’s going to come visit, if he’s going to call, what he’s doing with their dog, who was that woman who answered the phone, and so on. Something’s lacking–either charm or wit or levity. It seems bleak. It seems like the moral is “adults are shits and there’s nothing you can do about it, kid”. It’s a solid idea, but lacks plot. So it comes off whiny. I imagine this is the kid who grew up to become J.D. Salinger. ( )
  theWallflower | Feb 14, 2019 |
Ten year old Leigh begins writing letters to his favorite author as part of a school assignment. When Mr. Henshaw begins to ask questions about Leigh’s family, he is reluctant to answer because of his parent’s recent divorce. On top of this, Leigh is the new kid in school. Mr. Henshaw acts as a mentor for Leigh and is able to help him cope with these issues. With the rising divorce rate, plenty of kids are experiencing divorce. This is harder for some than it is for others. This book shows a kid who first feels shame over the state of his family, but learns to become more comfortable with it. ( )
  JennySkvarna | Nov 30, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 133 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (3 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Beverly Clearyprimary authorall editionscalculated
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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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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Average: (3.86)
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1 6
1.5 6
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