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Dear Mr. Henshaw (Leigh Botts #1)

3.7  ·  Rating details ·  30,120 Ratings  ·  1,270 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 se

...more
Mass Market Paperback, 144 pages
Published July 1st 1996 by Avon Books (first published 1983)
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Kate
Aug 23, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 you must cease and desist."
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
Jul 04, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Yasaman A
Feb 22, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
بچه که بودم کتابو خوندم و یه مدت خیلی دنبالش گشتم تا یکی از دوستام دوباره بهم هدیه دادش. کتاب داستان لی پسربچه ی تنهاییه که برای آقای هنشاو، نویسنده ی شوخ طبع موردعلاقه ش نامه می نویسه و کم کم بین این دو نفر یه دوستی مکاتبه ای شکل می گیره.
چقدر دوست دارم همه چیز این کتابو
بهترین گزینه برای هدیه دادن به بچه هایی که خاطره نویسی می کنن.
Calista
A brilliant book! Beverly does a fantastic job of showing how Leigh's writing changes as he keeps writing. At first it is short with little to say and by the end he is getting good at showing what happens. A simple story. This is similar to Crenshaw in several ways. This is a powerful story and I can't believe it took me this long to read it. There are great tips if children really want to be a writer too. Please get kids to read this. It's a story will enjoy.
Arvy
Nov 13, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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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Bobby
Apr 21, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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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Alan
Aug 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Danielle
Dec 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio, 2013, mg
Man, how I love this book.
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
Feb 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Drew Graham
Mar 13, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: me
Get to know Leigh Botts, first through his letters to an author he admires, and then through letters to himself in his journal. It's not easy getting through sixth grade in a new school while also dealing with divorced parents, but Leigh's correspondence with Mr. Henshaw helps him cope with changes in his life and alternating disappointments and triumphs.

I've been trying to remember when I first read this book. I think I must have been in grade school, and although I can't remember exactly wheth
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Diane
May 31, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: to-claire
I find it so interesting and also rare that there are books about children dealing with divorce. This book holds up over time and it made both of us go from laughing one second to being a bit sad the next.
Jg
Apr 06, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
not as good as diary of a wimpy kid. but I still liked it
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
Sep 06, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 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
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Syl
Oct 31, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children, borrowed
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.
Christopher
When I was a wee lad I started this book several times but always stalled out before, let's say, page twenty-five. What an idiot I was. This book is amazing.
Ahmad Sharabiani
Dear Mr. Henshaw, Beverly Cleary
عنوان: آقاى هنشاو عزيز؛ مترجم: پروین علیپور
Lexi
Dec 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of those books that I read over and over again, as a child... teen... young adult...
Juli Anna
Significantly mediocre. While I generally like epistolary novels, this book reinforced for me how difficult it is for an adult to write in the journal-voice of a child. In this book, Leigh's voice just does not ring true. Leigh, like so many other child protagonists given the same treatment, seems stupid and worthy of condescension, which I don't think is what Cleary meant to do. Although some aspects of his reaction to his parents' divorce seem realistic, much of the emotion here feels contrive ...more
Heather Ray
Apr 14, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this book as a child and have always remembered it fondly. I've tried to get my daughter to read it for 2+years, so when she came home from the school library with it last week, I was excited.

I told her if she read it quickly, I might be able read it before it was due. I had exactly 1 day to read it. I read it in less than 2 hours. It was a good read although kind of dated, I still recommend it.

#longlivebeverlycleary
Alex Baugh
Six-grader Leigh Botts hasn't been a very happy boy since his parents got divorced, and so he has decided to pick up where he left off in his correspondence with author Boyd Henshaw. Leigh has been sending Mr. Henshaw one or two letters year since first grade, but now his sixth grade teacher has assigned the class an author report to improve their writing skills.

And so, Leigh decides to write to Mr. Henshaw again with a list of questions for his report, including any writing tips since Leigh wou
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Jim
Sep 16, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dear Mr. Henshaw, by author Beverly Cleary, is a young readers realistic fiction novel that directly addresses the issue of a child who is forced to face the realities of his parents' divorce; probably still somewhat of a taboo theme for a young readers book in 1984.

Leigh (pronounced Lee) Botts is a young boy (6th grade) who is in love with writing. He eventually wants to become an author when he grows up. As part of an assignment for school, he writes a letter to one of his favorite authors, Mr
...more
Jeremy Rodden
Why I Think Boys May Enjoy This

I decided to review this book as the first one on my Books for Boys blog for a very personal reason: this is the book I recall that both got me in love with reading and also made me want to be a writer. In preparation for this review, I reread the book to see how different it is with 35 year old eyes instead of 8 year old eyes and this is what I learned:

I am still Leigh Botts, but grown up. In one of the first letters, Leigh wrote “when I grow up I want to be a fam
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Lola Salamah
Feb 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: elm-572
I really enjoyed this realistic fiction book Dear Mr. Henshaw by Beverly Cleary. This book is structured in a much different format than most other books. Beverly Cleary writes this book as a young pre-adolescent boy who is facing many of life's difficulties as a child from working class parents through diary entries and written letters to his admired author. Beverly Cleary, over time, reveals how Leigh Botts's writing improves from Leigh Botts as a second grader and Leigh Botts as a sixth grade ...more
Kristin
Oct 24, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Book summary: This book is about a boy names Leigh Botts who is ten years old. His second grade teacher read aloud Ways To Amuse a Dog and ever since, Leigh had been Mr. Henshaw's fan. Leigh is now in the sixth grade and is the new kid in school and is troubled by the absence of his father who is a trucker. He is mad because someone keeps stealing the good food out of his lunchbox and feels like his only friend in the school is the janitor Mr. Fridley. In school, Leigh gets an assignment to writ ...more
Jackie B. - Death by Tsundoku
A moving book in epistolary format-- Cleary does a good job helping the reader get into the mind of a child coping with growing up in a new school, the struggle to make friends, and the challenges of dealing with recently divorced parents.

Full review to follow.
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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)
“I am sort of medium...I guess you could call me the mediumest boy in the class. -Leigh Botts” 6 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.” 2 likes
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