Plot summary[ edit ] Every school year, Leigh Botts writes a letter to his favorite author, Boyd Henshaw. Leigh includes all the questions he was given as a numbered list. Henshaw writes back, teases Leigh for not doing research, and includes more questions for the boy to answer. Leigh is angry and at first refuses to answer. Henshaw the courtesy of a reply.

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Dear Mr. Cleary wrote this book for all kids, but mostly for the large number of kids whose parents have divorced and who are faced with a sudden and drastic change in their lives. Leigh remembers what his family was like when his parents were together, and he spends a lot of time trying to figure out why his parents got divorced.

In coming to terms with his relationship with his dad, Leigh develops relationships with Mr. Henshaw and Mr. Fridley, who become father and grandfather figures in his life. And of course, his mom is there for him every step of the way. So is a family still a family when half of it is missing? Yep, says Beverly Cleary. Obviously his dad is not going to marry the pizza boy, so why does Leigh include him? In what ways are Mr.

Fridley and Mr. Henshaw like father figures to Leigh? Are Leigh, Mom, and Dad still a family after the divorce? Even though Mr. Identity Who am I? Where do I belong? Where will I fit in? In Dear Mr. Sounds like some serious contemplation for a sixth-grade psychologist. How did he get this self-image? Is it realistic? Coming of Age Older and wiser. For young kids, things tend to be black or white.

Questions About Coming of Age Leigh responds to his dad in one way at the beginning of the book and a different way at the end. What changes in Leigh to create these different responses? What role does Mr. How does Mom help Leigh deal with things in a more mature way?

Facing problems makes Leigh grow up more quickly. Literature and Writing Letters and diaries and stories, oh my. This story is saturated in writing.

The main character is an avid reader who wants to be a writer, his idol is an author, and one of his main goals is to win a writing contest. Plus, one of the ways we know Leigh is growing up is by seeing how his diary writing gets more detailed, descriptive, and insightful. Writing is an outlet for Leigh to express himself, and reading Mr. She uses the character of Mr.

Henshaw to get these ideas across to Leigh and to us. Pretty clever of Cleary to masquerade as Boyd Henshaw.

We bet she hoped that people who read Dear Mr. Henshaw would grab a pen and start writing their own letters and diaries and stories. Did you? Oh my. What was wrong with the wax man story? What makes a good writer? Henshaw gives about writing? What role does Ways to Amuse a Dog play in the story? By writing a book about writing, the author is encouraging kids to…write. Perseverance You know what they say: when the going gets tough, the tough go shopping. Sorry, it must have been an old joke we heard once.

When the going gets tough, the tough get going. Henshaw, Leigh perseveres in this story with his writing, communicating with Mr. Henshaw, fighting the lunchbox bandit, and figuring out what his relationship with his dad will look like after the divorce. Persevering is hard work, but it pays off with a writing award, a close relationship with Mr. Henshaw, a safe lunch, and a better understanding of his dad. Leigh is a perseverance superhero. Questions About Perseverance What are all the things Leigh perseveres at?

Does everything end in success? If you could give them a Perseverance Rating from 1 to 10, how would you rate each of them and why?

How does the ability to persevere help Leigh grow up? Henshaw with endless letters, he would have never heard from him. He loves the freedom of the open road and not having to account for anyone but himself. She knows that feeling free to do as you please can be pretty great, and that some people just need that more than others.

We hear about how exhilarating it is for Dad to ride high in his truck through the beautiful scenery and open desert. And Leigh complains like crazy about being forced to do things like answer all Mr. You have to give up some freedoms to be part of a family. How do these views conflict with each other?

Do you think Dad could ever give up the freedom of the road and settle down with Mom and Leigh? How does that make him feel? Isolation Being the new kid in town—ugh. Henshaw, Leigh Botts is that new kid. All this is a recipe for feeling pretty isolated. On the plus side, the isolation leads to several great things: he writes a lot, develops a relationship with Mr. Fridley, and strikes up a pen-pal relationship with his favorite author.

Leigh has a very active inner life to keep him company. He likes to read, write, and think about things, and that helps him get through the lonely times. Being the not-so-new kid in town?

Much better. What are the downsides? Who else in the story struggles with feeling isolated? Leigh loves to read, but friends are still better company. Everyone wants things. Henshaw, Leigh wants friends, all of his lunch, a relationship with his dad, and a whole family. His mom wants money, a stable home, and to move on in life after divorce. You might not always get what you want, but as Dr.

Jagger concluded long ago—if you try sometimes, you just might find you get what you need. Is it possible for both Leigh and Dad to get what they want? Does Dad want a relationship with Leigh and Mom? How can you tell? How does this affect Leigh and Mom? What Leigh wants and how he goes about getting it tells a lot about his character.


Dear Mr. Henshaw (2000)

Shelves: kids , coming-of-age , childhood-favorites One of my comfort reads as a kid was Dear Mr. Henshaw by Beverly Cleary. I read my copy enough times to leave the pages tattered. This week my first grader brought a copy home from her school library, and I could not resist reading along with her. As it is always a struggle to for me to find quality books for kids, I figured it was time for a trip down memory lane, and, as always, Beverly Cleary does not disappoint her readers. Leigh Botts is a fifth grader whose parents have just gotten One of my comfort reads as a kid was Dear Mr.


Dear Mr. Henshaw Summary

Dear Mr. Henshaw Dear Mr. Henshaw About book: Dear Mr. 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. When Mr.

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