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While Henshaw along with school custodian Mr. Fridley can not replace Leigh's father, their life lessons help Leigh cope with his parents' divorce. I remember reading many of Cleary's books as a kid, either on my own or with my dad reading them to me before bed. Yet, I remember these books as fun stories, not ones that would impart life lessons.
Henshaw stood out from all of these books even as a kid most likely because the protagonist was a kid who enjoyed reading and writing, and Leigh stood out for me. Reading this story through adult eyes has given me a greater appreciation for Beverly Cleary's books for elementary school readers. Not only does she create well fleshed out characters, she has given children a protagonist who is not a superhero or super athlete, but an everyday kid who is coping with real life problems that they can relate to.
While the subject matter may be a touch over my first grader's head, I am glad that she brought Dear Mr. Henshaw home so that I could relive a childhood favorite. I remember touching scenes like eating fried chicken in the rain and the lunchbox alarm as though I read the book yesterday, and have gained a deeper appreciation for Beverly Cleary from reading her work through adult eyes. I have found out that there is a follow up book Strider which I may or may not have read, but I will be looking for it now to see where Cleary takes Leigh on his journey through life.
View all 14 comments. Henshaw first published , is a juvenile epistolary novel, by Beverly Cleary. Every school year, Leigh Botts writes a letter to his favorite author, Boyd Henshaw.
BEVERLY CLEARYIllustrated by Paul O. Zelinsky Contents May Private Diary of Leigh Botts39January Dear Mr. Henshaw (rpkg) (Avon Camelot Books). BEVERLY CLEARY Illustrated by Paul O. Zelinsky Contents May 12 1 Private Diary of Leigh Botts 39 January.
In the 6th grade, Leigh's class has an assignment to write letters to their favorite authors. Leigh includes all the questions he was given as a numbered list. Henshaw writes back, teases Leigh for not doing research, and includes more questions for the boy to answer. Le Dear Mr. Leigh is angry and first refuses to answer. But when Leigh's mother finds out, she demands he show Mr. Henshaw the courtesy of a reply. Through his answers to Mr. Henshaw, Leigh's concerns and conflicts are revealed. He struggles with his parents' divorce, being the new kid in school, his relationship with a neglectful father, and a school lunch thief.
In a later letter, Mr. Henshaw encourages him to keep a diary of his thoughts and feelings. Leigh is reconciled to the writer, and his new diary is at first written to a Mr. Pretend Henshaw.
Jun 17, Nick Black rated it liked it Shelves: read-as-child , read-multiple-times , unlikely-to-acquire. This cunningly-woven allegory of the Cold War's nuclear buildup is simple and gripping enough for children to understand, if a bit fleshless. Our adolescent narrator, one Leigh Botts of California both an immediate reference to Harvard President and Interim Committee member James Bryant Conant and a deep frappe indeed to the testicles-or-vagina of Bridge to Terebithia 's androgynous lead character , devoid of a father figure the waning British Empire, their ocean-spanning fleet here captured in This cunningly-woven allegory of the Cold War's nuclear buildup is simple and gripping enough for children to understand, if a bit fleshless.
Our adolescent narrator, one Leigh Botts of California both an immediate reference to Harvard President and Interim Committee member James Bryant Conant and a deep frappe indeed to the testicles-or-vagina of Bridge to Terebithia 's androgynous lead character , devoid of a father figure the waning British Empire, their ocean-spanning fleet here captured in Botts Senior's beet-trucking service , has his lunch repeatedly stolen bombed by unknown presumed Japanese, un-interred and dangerous students or perhaps external forces Rome-Berlin Axis, spreading spectre of Bolshevism, Reverse Trilateral Commission, etc.
Botts strikes an elegant and delightful, at times even eerie, Kittie Oppenheimer throughout. Leigh launches an all-out crash program to develop an alarm system note the reference to Teller's " Alarm Clock " failed layered thermonuclear device, prior to the Teller-Ulam application of reradiation, plasma and finally ablation , sparing no expense a jowly local electronics store owner's a passable cameo for General Leslie Groves. Finally, with the weapon system complete, Leigh flies a bus we may as well dub the Enola Gay to school Let Leigh Bott's alarm be an alarm for all of us.
There was also something about butterflies, the details of which I've forgotten. Maybe that was just Jurassic Park. Anyway, doesn't matter, a classic tale of love in the chivalric era. View all 13 comments.