Dear Mr. Henshaw
|Illustrator||Paul O. Zelinsky|
|Media type||Print (Hardback & Paperback)|
|LC Class||PZ7.C5792 De 1983|
Dear Mr. Henshaw is a juvenile epistolary novel by Beverly Cleary which was awarded the Newbery Medal in 1984. Based on a 2007 online poll, the National Education Association named the book one of its "Teachers' Top 100 Books for Children."
Dear Mr. Henshaw begins with the book's main character, Leigh Botts, writing a letter to his favorite author, Boyd Henshaw. He continues to write him letters occasionally until the sixth grade when he is expected to write a letter to his favorite author. Naturally, he chooses to do it on Mr. Henshaw, and notes him a series of questions. He writes back with dumb responses and some questions for Leigh to answer. At first he is reluctant to reply to Mr. Henshaw, but his mother finds out and demands for his reply because the author answered his questions. Through his answers to Mr. Henshaw, Leigh's personal matters are revealed, such as his struggles with his parents' divorce, his complex relationship with his father, being the new kid in school, and a mysterious thief stealing his lunch. Later, Mr. Henshaw encourages Leigh to keep a diary of his thoughts and feelings, and the book then switches from a letter format to a diary, in which he writes to Mr. Pretend Henshaw.
By writing to Mr. Henshaw, Leigh must learn to accept that there are parts of his life he can't change. For example, his parents will never remarry, people will continue to steal his lunch even though he has made an alarm for his lunch box, and that he can never rely on his father to be available when he is needed but he does pay support checks. He must deal with problems that many other children also have to cope with: feeling lonely because he is new in town, school assignments, etc.
|Newbery Medal recipient
The Hero and the Crown
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