Title: Henry Huggins
Author: Beverly Cleary
Series: Henry Huggins, book 1
Major Themes: Oregon, Children, Dogs
Synopsis: Henry’s life was very boring—until the day a dog chose him!
Have you ever read Henry Huggins? If not, you are missing out! Henry has been a favorite book character of mine ever since I was around 10 years old and found Beverly Cleary’s books at the library. Henry is just an ordinary boy living an ordinary life in an ordinary city in the United States in the 1960s.
Henry considered his life to be rather boring. He wished something exciting would happen, but nothing exciting ever happened on Klickitat street. Then one day, when he was going home from swimming, something exciting did happen! A dog found him. Henry immediately fell in love with the dog and knew he had to have him. Just getting the dog, who Henry named Ribsy, home, became quite an adventure in itself. Suddenly, Henry’s life was no longer dull and boring.
Now that Henry had a dog, he had to go to the pet shop every week. That led to gallons and gallons of guppies in his bedroom. Then Ribsy inadvertently forced Henry to need to make money in a hurry, which was an adventure in itself. Not everything that Ribsy got Henry into was problematic though, in the end. He got Henry out of doing something Henry didn’t want to do—although Henry’s mother was not pleased with what happened. Then there was the day that Henry turned his dog pink. With that, a disaster turned into a fun triumph—though not without stress.
Henry Huggins is a great story for children who like to read about other children who have ordinary lives. Beverly Cleary has made ordinary life into a fun adventure that children can relate to. Though this book is not Christian, it is one I highly recommend. It depicts a family of a father and mother, who are married. The father works to support the family, and the mother stays home and cares for the house and family. In this way, family values are upheld in a way that many modern children’s books do not show.
WARNING: Chapter 1: golly twice, I’ll be darned, I’ll be doggoned twice. Chapter 2: jeepers, gosh, golly twice, gee. Chapter 3: golly three times, gee twice. Chapter 4: gee whiz twice, golly, jeepers twice. Chapter 5: gee twice.
Listening Level—Ages 5 – 8, 8 – 12, Family Friendly
Reading Independently—Ages 7 – 9, 8 – 12
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