Library and Book Review – Dear Mr. Henshaw

I had a successful trip to the library yesterday (I didn’t make it over the weekend like I had hoped). Most of the books I wanted to read were in (rare) and I found a parking place on my first trip around the block (even more unheard of in Bloomington).

Because I know you’re dying to know, here are the books I checked out:

Dear Mr. Henshaw
The Twenty-One Balloons
The Witch of Blackbird Pond
A View From Saturday
The Big Over Easy
The Red Tent
Once Upon a Marigold
Roommates Wanted

Most of these books fulfill my two reading challenges for 2008. Hopefully I can get them done quickly. I have changed a couple of my original picks because I have heard bad things about the books or because I wasn’t in the mood to read them again.

Last night I read Dear Mr. Henshaw. It’s a short book, and an easy read, so it didn’t take long at all. I admit, I have read this book several times, but still enjoy it and haven’t read it since I was in middle school, most likely. The progression of Leigh from a small child to a boy with a lot of dreams and hopes and feelings is well-written and subtle at the same time. Through Leigh’s journal and letters to Mr. Henshaw, we learn all about his life.

My favorite thing about this book is that it is told without traditional narrative. Everything is written from Leigh’s hand – his thoughts and dreams exactly as they come out. I love that it is written like a peek into the story – all we know about Leigh and his life is what he chooses to tell us. I love that the character can have complete control but we still feel like we can read between the lines and know more of the story than what he is telling Mr. Henshaw (and us).

What’s more, it’s the story about one little boy following a dream – no matter how small the steps toward the dream may be. It’s a fast read, and and enjoyable diversion from the ‘real world.’

2 Comments

  1. I know I’ve said it before, but Witch of Blackbird Pond is one of my favorites. Ranks right up there with Anne and Mixed Up Files.I know you like juvenile lit; I just read two books I think you’d like; City of Ember and its sequel The People of Sparks. I’m on the third book now; the “prequel.”

  2. I am so in need of books to read. Kids books almost always satisfy because they’re short enough to keep my attention. And at my level. And yes, you can read ’em a hundred times and still get caught up.

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