Wendy's Reviews > Dear Mr. Henshaw

Dear Mr. Henshaw by Beverly Cleary
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's review
Sep 06, 2008

really liked it
bookshelves: newbery

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 contrast to his usual personality. Also, I do think something about this book loses kids--maybe the format? I know I'm one of many who didn't like it or said it was boring or didn't finish it. (I couldn't understand, when I was a kid, why THIS of all Beverly Cleary's books was the one that won the Newbery--I felt that there were many better choices, like Ellen Tebbits and Beezus and Ramona.) Or maybe it's too depressing for some kids--many people, including Ramona Quimby herself now that I think about it, don't want to read about a kid who's lonely and doesn't have any friends.

FINALLY--reading this, I almost wished I didn't know so much about Beverly Cleary and know her voice so well, because that knowledge kept taking me out of the story--I kept thinking things like "oh, this is like what her seventh grade teacher told her" and "just like Jonas Hornbostle" and so on.
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message 1: by Susann (new) - added it

Susann As a kid, I only read this once. Like you, I also wondered why this Cleary was the one to win the Newbery. Thanks to your review, though, I want to take a grown-up look at it.

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