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Dear Mr. Henshaw (Leigh Botts #1)

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3.67 of 5 stars 3.67  ·  rating details  ·  24,670 ratings  ·  987 reviews
Beverly Cleary's Newbery Medal-winning book explores the thoughts and emotions of a sixth-grade boy, Leigh Botts, in letter form as he writes to his favorite author, Boyd Henshaw.

After his parents separate, Leigh Botts moves to a new town with his mother. Struggling to make friends and deal with his anger toward his absent father, Leigh loses himself in a class assignment
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Paperback, 134 pages
Published May 31st 2000 by HarperCollins (first published 1983)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Kate
I like to imagine the replies from Mr. Henshaw. "Dear Leigh, Please stop writing to me every single day. I'm glad I impressed you, but a man has his limits. Also, you have a girl's name."
Nick Black
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 ...more
Will McGee
Rereading this book, I was struck with how Cleary manages to convey her narrator's complex of feelings in the limited vocabulary and understated style of Leigh Botts, a lonely and isolated young boy. Leigh faces several problems in the narrative--his lunch is stolen, he doesn't understand his parents' divorce, he resents a "pizza boy" whose mother Leigh's father seems to be dating--but none are neatly solved; Cleary refuses to resolve them conclusively and instead shows Leigh struggling to addre ...more
Bobby
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Arvy
Dear Mr. Henshaw,

FUCK YOU. I heard you reply to children writing letters to you so this I gotta try. Fuck you for replying to Leigh Boots, (that boy who was dumbly obsessed with your books) with 10 stupid questions that are by definition, useless (unless you're a 6-year-old pixie spending afternoon sipping apple juice answering questions from a slumbook.) You might as well stab him in the eye with a corkscrew. It killed his potential, Mr. Henshaw. I know Leigh wouldn't like me writing to you but
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Danielle
Man, how I love this book.
Stephen
I picked this up in a thrift store thinking that it was another book entirely but when I started it I found that it was charming story told from the point of view of a young man dealing with the fallout of his parent's divorce. The young man is given an assignment in school to write to a favorite author and when the author mails him back a list of questions, he endeavors to answer them in series of letters and then journals as he grows up a bit.

Overall it's a great book for children of middle s
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Vlad
I dislike Beverly Cleary. Her books are unimaginative, puerile garbage, and she writes in the stilted language of her child narrators to make up for her own lack of ability.

"Dear Mr. Henshaw" is in many ways her most nauseating work. In it, a troubled young boy, Leigh Botts, writes to his favorite author. The subjects of these letters fall into three categories; the mundane, the pseudo-philosophical, and the blatant appeals to emotion.

The mundane includes such riveting subjects as the person w
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Michelle Isenhoff
Dear Mr. Henshaw is Beverly Cleary’s highest award-winner, capturing the Newbery and Christopher Awards in the early 80’s, yet it is one of my least favorites. Written as a series of letters and journal entries, with absolutely no narration, Mrs. Cleary somehow, miraculously, weaves together a plot, a central-California setting and a well-rounded character. This accomplishment is a testament to her craft; the story is emotional and compelling. I simply don’t care for the style.

In a departure fro
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Bailey R
I am currently reading Dear Mr. Henshaw by Beverly Cleary this book is very interesting and funny. Leigh Botts (the main character) writes letters to Mr. Henshaw because the book he is reading is by Mr. Henshaw. They have to do a report on the author of the book they are reading in class. Leigh and Mr. Henshaw write letters to each other about themselves. Leigh has a hard life because his parents got divorced and he lives with his mom. His mom and him don't have a lot of money so they struggle a ...more
Kwoomac
I picked this book up because I recently read some author's bio and he/ she said this book was influential in their lives. Unfortunately, I don't remember who the author was or the particular significance. A sweet story but not life-changing for me.

The premise is a school-aged boy writes to his favorite author. He also keeps a diary, with his thoughts written in the form of more letters to the author, Mr. Henshaw. Henshaw's role in all this is fairly minimal. Most of the meat of the story is wh
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Wendy
I thought this was so good. I'd tried to read it as a kid and got maybe halfway through--it's that thing about not liking books about boys, and I remember that I also didn't want to read about a kid whose parents were divorced, which seemed strange and unhappy to me. But reading it now, I thought it was very sweet and honest and funny. At one point I almost cried.

I've been trying to put my finger on why I can't give this five stars--I think maybe because Leigh seems too self-aware sometimes, in
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Christine
Dear Mr. Henshaw, it has a wonderful opening line which reveals how kids make fun mistakes while learning to spell. "My teacher read your book about the dog to our class. It was funny. We licked it." Can't you just imagine a child licking a book? What a funny image!

The format of the book is great. It's a compilation of letters by Leigh Botts to his favorite author, Mr. Henshaw. I wonder how many books out there adopt this format? The only other one I know off hand is Screwtape Letters. Leigh beg
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Col. Smith
Really liked it, more the so, due to the first person diary and letter narrative which I am partial to. The story of a young lonely pre-teen, the product of a broken marriage, who lives with his mother in a cramped house and has a good imagination and who loves writing. The story starts as a letter he writes to a popular children's author as a part of a school project and carries on from there via correspondences and diary entries. It was a poignant story, I felt like befriending and nurturing t ...more
The other John
This is the tale of Leigh Botts, a school aged boy and wannabe writer, as told in a series of letters to Boyd Henshaw, the author of Leigh's favorite book. It's an interesting twist and Ms. Cleary makes it work well. It was a pleasure to read, though I didn't find the heart of the story, Leigh coping with his parents' divorce, to be exceptionally enthralling.
Alan
Watching the movie "Stuck in Love" a character makes reference to this book as his favorite while the hard character of his affection felt the same. It is now one of my favorites as it has so many parallels to my life as a young boy. It doesn't bother me this is Jr. Fiction, what bothers me is, it took so long for me to find.
Nikinnia Smith garcia
This book was kind of depressing. Leigh had too many problems to be such a young age. His father was somewhat of a deadbeat. He doesn't call Leigh regularly nor really give him any real parenting advice. He starts writing his favorite author, Mr. Henshaw, quite often. Telling him about what's going on in his everyday life. Mr. Henshaw would give him the advice that his father probably should have given him.
Leigh later starts making friends after he builds a burglar alarm for his lunch box since
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Kathi
This Newbery is about writing, growing, dealing with life’s problems, and how writing can help a boy grow and deal with life’s problems.

Leigh Botts’s main problem—though not his only one—is the divorce of his parents.

Leigh is a second grader when he begins writing to his favorite author, and a sixth grader when the book ends, not only after many letters to Mr. Henshaw, but also after many entries in Leigh’s personal diary. Cleverness, sweetness, sadness, and humor make this book memorable. The
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Lexi
One of those books that I read over and over again, as a child... teen... young adult...
Jo Sorrell
from building rainbows
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.
In this story, a boy named Leigh Botts writes to a man named Mr.Henshaw. It doesn't tell his first name in the story. Leigh Botts has always written to Mr.Henshaw since he was in the third grade. It's funny how every time Leigh moves to a different grade he has to do the same work.
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Cathy
Jul 09, 2011 Cathy rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Cathy by: Newbery Award
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
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PurplyCookie
Nov 04, 2009 PurplyCookie rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to PurplyCookie by: Maegan Cabrera, VII-3
Shelves: childrens-books
A classic story that many children in today's society can really relate to with the rising divorce rate. Leigh speaks on their level, simply looking for some one to reach out to.

"Dear Mr. Henshaw" is a touching story, kind of a "coming-of-age" tale for an elementary school child. But instead of seeing this tale through a typical narrative, we see this character's growth through letters that he writes to his favorite author, Mr. Henshaw. Leigh expressed anger first at Mr. Henshaw for being late
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Casey Harris
As much as I loved Ramona, Ralph S. Mouse, and Ellen Tebbits, I think this has always been my favorite Cleary book. I had the chance to re-read this when I pulled it out of the library for Kyle to read, and remembered how touching and clever the book is. Laura and I a few years ago listened to an audio version of this on one of our many car trips between Portland and Utah, and both versions are great. I guess I have a special affinity for this book since I remember it coming out, and winning the ...more
Nani
Dear Leigh Botts,

I wasn't sure how to address you. I did the math and you are around the age I should be addressing you as Sir or Mr. However I am also an adult and am not sure if it is acceptable for such titles, adult to adult. Anyway...

It was sort of strange reading your diary from all those years ago. I wonder, do you ever re-read those words you scribbled from 6th grade? I know I cringe when I look at my old journals from middle school. I can't blame you if you never think about those old w
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Esther Barajikian
"Dear Mr Henshaw" is an award-winning (John Newbery Metal) realistic fiction book intended for intermediate readers. It is the story of a boy, Leigh Botts, who writes a series of letters to his favorite author, Mr. Henshaw. Through his letters, Leigh shares his feelings of loneliness and disappointment associated with the absence of his father, who is divorced from his mom and constantly on the road as a trucker. Through his correspondence with Mr. Henshaw, Leigh learns more about himself and co ...more
Elise Jensen
One of the many books I had to read for my children's literature class, I have to say that despite the Newbery award and Ms. Cleary being one of the most beloved children's authors of our time, I couldn't really get into it. My big stumbling block was the main character, Leigh Botts. I found him believable as a child...just not an 11-year-old child. If he had been 6, I'd have found the story much easier to swallow. I simply don't believe that there are many 11-year-olds out there who, if an auth ...more
Michelle
Literary Element: Organization (Friendly Letter). Ten-year-old Leigh develops a friendship with author Boyd Henshaw after his teacher assigns a letter-writing project. Through his letters to Mr. Henshaw, the reader learns about Leigh’s problems in coping with his parents' divorce, being the new boy in school, and finding out how he fits in.

It seems with the advent of email, texting, twittering, blogging, etc. that letter-writing is becoming a lost art. From about the time that I was Leigh's age
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Ch_ebonysmith
This book is about a boy, Leigh, who is writing to favorite author throughout the book. It begins with him second and ends with him in sixth grade. It started as a school assignment, but somehow along the way, the author, Mr. Henshaw became much more to Leigh. Leigh is an only child of divorced parents. His father, a trucker, is in the picture rarely and his mother is doing her best to keep up with everything. It is hard for him to cope with his father's absence, but he must learn to deal with i ...more
Samantha Kent
In Dear Mr. Henshaw Leigh Botts starts writing letters in the second grade to his favorite author Mr. Henshaw. He then continues to write to him because of an assignment from one of his teachers. They then start writing back and forth and Mr. Henshaw gives Leigh tips on how to become a writer he then suggests that Leigh keep a diary. Leigh decides to do it and does it as if he is writing a letter to Mr. Henshaw but doesn’t send them. He writes about his problems of his parents’ divorce, being th ...more
Cheyenne Carden
I read this when I was in about 5th or 6th grade so my review won't be as good as it would if I just read the book. This series is a good read for young adults/children it wasn't very hard to read and I loved it, it made me laugh quiet a few times. I wish I still had the book because I would re-read it and give a better review :(
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Beverly Cleary (born April 12, 1916) is the author of over 30 books for young adults and children. Her characters are normal children facing challenges that many of us face growing up, and her stories are liberally laced with humour. Some of her best known and loved characters are Ramona Quimby and her sister Beatrice ("Beezus"), Henry Huggins, and Ralph S. Mouse.

Beverly Cleary was born Beverly At
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More about Beverly Cleary...

Other Books in the Series

Leigh Botts (2 books)
  • Strider (Leigh Botts, #2)
Beezus and Ramona (Ramona, #1) Ramona Quimby, Age 8 (Ramona, #6) The Mouse and the Motorcycle (Ralph S. Mouse, #1) Ramona the Pest (Ramona, #2) Ramona the Brave (Ramona, #3)

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“I am sort of medium...I guess you could call me the mediumest boy in the class. -Leigh Botts” 2 likes
“This morning the sun was shining, so Barry and I mailed my letter to Mr. Henshaw and then walked over to see if there were still any butterflies in the grove. We only saw three or four, so I guess most of them have gone north for the summer. Then we walked down to the little park at Lovers Point and sat on a rock watching sailboats on the bay for a while. When clouds began to blow in we walked back to my house.” 0 likes
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