Author(s): Beverly ClearyDownload
Leigh has been 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 in school. He’s lonely, troubled by the absence of his father, a cross-country trucker, and angry because a mysterious thief steals from his lunchbag. Then Leigh’s teacher assigns a letter-writing project. Naturally Leigh chooses to write to Mr. Henshaw, whose surprising answer changes Leigh’s life. (back cover)
Some Reviews: 1561 in Goodreads.com
I hadn’t been exposed to a lot of foreign literature growing up, so it’s safe to assume I had never heard of this popular (and rightly so) piece of fiction. I chanced upon it when Lou mentions it to be his favourite book in the movie ‘Stuck in Love’ and it elicits such an extreme emotion from Sam. I knew it held a deeper meaning for her but did not understand the subtext there, clearly never having read the original source material. So, in my quest to explore every detail of my favourite film, I decided to have a go of it and my god did I love it!
This is a middle grade book describing the life of one Leigh Botts, a lonely sixth grader who loves a book dearly. He decides to write a letter to the author of this book for his school report and thus begins a beautiful tale of friendship and understanding between an author and his reader. But this book is so much more than just a kid writing a letter to an author he admires. The “letters” Leigh writes through the book become a respite for him where he finds the answers to the questions life throws at him. It weaves a beautiful, nuanced story of accepting and dealing with expectations, divorce, alienation and bullying.
I know I would have liked this book had I read it at a young age, but I love it just as much reading it as a twenty-six year old.
In second grade, Leigh Botts reads a book How to Entertain Your Dog and writes to the author, Mr. Henderson, telling him how much he enjoyed the story. The next year, Leigh writes again talking more about the book, about his own dog Bandit and about how he would like to be an author and write stories just like How to Entertain Your Dog. In fourth grade, the teacher assigns the class to write to an author to do a report about an author. Leigh writes to Mr. Henderson again giving him a list of 1o questions so Leigh can use that as the basis of his report. Mr. Henderson does not write back in time for the report and, when he does, Mr. Henderson asks him 10 questions. Told initially as letters to Mr. Henderson, with comments in the letters of answers to previous letters, we get to know Leigh Botts, watch his reactions when his parents divorce. We watch as he works at first trying to write and as he builds his skills. An artful tale, Cleary uses an inventive voice to bring a delightful character to life.
This is another one of those books I read when I was ten or so, and I’m glad that I had the chance to revisit it for book club. Certain images have stayed with me all these years: the dad saying “keep your nose clean, kid,” Leigh failing to scrub the mildew in the bathroom, Leigh nothing that his father always run up stairs instead of walking. Cleary weaves in a hidden beauty, with aspects such as the butterfly grove and Leigh’s story of hauling grapes in his dad’s big rig. Other elements I can appreciate more fully as an adult, for instance Leigh’s struggling to grasp his parents’ divorce, trying to fit in at school, and who the heck is eating his darn lunch?? There’s a beauty and a sadness to this novel which, while intended for children, can still be appreciated by the young at heart.
Cute and enjoyable to read. Leigh is a boy trying to cope with the divorce of his parents and all the changes that come with that. Most of the book is in letter or diary format. It feels believable.
The book is a bit familiar to me, particularly the lunchbox burglar alarm. I probably would have enjoyed reading this as a child even though it wasn’t an animal book.
Will modern kids like this? I dunno, I think it could still be enjoyable. A kid who likes to tinker will enjoy that lunchbox portion. A kid who has dealt with the split of their parents could relate to the book as well. I will say that the kid in this book is just starting 6th grade and that modern 6th graders are more mature. This would probably be more appealing to kids in elementary.
This was my next book as I continue reading Newbery winners. It’s Leigh Botts, who has moved with his mom to a town in California. His parents have just gotten divorced and he has to start a new school. One of the first assignments is to write a letter to an author. He chooses Mr. Henshaw, author of his favorite book.
Mr. Henshaw writes back. We never see his letters, just the letters from Leigh. He grows and learns about his new place. He struggles to create a new relationship with his dad and find friends. I loved it. Leigh is honest in both the letters and the journals. We see happiness, sadness, and anger. I think that this is a good book for youth.
It doesn’t have a big message. Just, sometimes life sucks and throws you curveballs. And you have to deal with it.
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