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Dear Mr. Henshaw (The Newbery Library Series)
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Dear Mr. Henshaw (Leigh Botts #1)

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3.65 of 5 stars 3.65  ·  rating details  ·  21,492 ratings  ·  901 reviews

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 seco

...more
Hardcover, 133 pages
Published September 12th 2008 by Barnes & Noble (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...more
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...more
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...more
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...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...more
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...more
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...more
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
PSmith
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.
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....more
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...more
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...more
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
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...more
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
Loraine
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jude F.
This book is different than other books that I read because of the form of writing. Most books are just plain text on the page, this book features an interesting style of writing for a book, letters, written from the point of view of Leigh Botts, a boy with dreams of becoming a famous author like Mr.Henshaw. I can relate to Leigh because I started this school year as a new kid. I think Beverly Cleary did a great job writing this book, from what I've read so far. She's a great author because of h...more
Rowan


This fictional story is about a 10 year old boy Leigh Botts who faces many problems with his life. His parents are divorced and his father never visits him. He has to spend hours alone in his small house because his mom is always doing things. All of the "good stuff" get stolen from his lunch and the thief is unknown. Leigh just dosen't know what to do!

In this fun loving, fast reading novel, Beverly Cleary (writer of the famous Ramona and Henry books) tells about how Leigh has to write to his fa...more
Kamille
Mr. Hensha gave Liegh advise on writing in a diary also giving ideas on writing sotries which expanded his mind and made him release his feelings, his diary was a great way to let out all his extra emotions. Mr. Hensha gave Liegh questions to allow him to be in deeper thought about his life. Mr. Hensha made Leigh realize that he could be whatever he wanted, such as an author. Mr. Hensha also gave Liegh advice to help him write his personal narrative; any kid could write a fantasy or a dramatic n...more
Nathan
Aw, yeah. This brought back memories of 3rd grade, relaxing on the mattresses as Ms. Anne-Christine Grand read aloud. It always stuck with me, because as foreign as Leigh Botts' experiences were to a missionary kid growing up in Pakistan, it was still utterly believable. Beverly Cleary is, in my opinion, among the most underrated American writers, past or present, adult or children's. The voice of the book is pitch-perfect. Leigh thinks like a kid, he acts like a kid, he sees adults the way kids...more
D.C.
This is one of those books where I read it a couple years ago, thought it was no big deal, read it again, had the same opinion, found out it was a Newbery, read it again, had the same opinion, then read it again, took my time and discovered all the hidden morsels in it. This book is great. It's got dry humor and wisdom from what could be half of America's preteen boys, it's poignant without being over-the-top, and it's coming-of-age from a first person perspective while sounding exactly like how...more
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Newbery Books: March 2013 Read - Dear Mr. Henshaw 21 18 Apr 04, 2013 12:12PM  
mr. henny 6 40 Jan 15, 2013 01:06PM  
Unit 02 Award Winner and Classic 1 11 Aug 25, 2012 08:22AM  
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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...more
More about Beverly Cleary...
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” 1 likes
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