Sunday, August 14, 2011

Henry and Beezus by Beverly Cleary

Overview from Barnes and Noble:
Henry Huggins is saving up for the bicycle of his dreams, but his plans to earn money don't work out quite as planned. From selling bubble gum on the playground to helping out with his friend Scooter's paper route, everything Henry tries seems to lead to trouble. Luckily, Henry's neighborhood friend Beezus Quimby is ready to step in and lend a hand.

The laughs continue as Henry attempts to raise money to buy a bicycle. Aiding him, to his great surprise, is none other than a girl! Beezus is different from most girls Henry knows, and readers will come to recognize her special appeal.

My thoughts:
This was our latest audio book in the car and everyone, including me, enjoyed it.  It is the first time we've read a book about Beverly Cleary's Henry, we've read a number of books about Ramona so we've met Henry but this was our first one with him as the main character.  My children are always asking about ways to make money so it was funny to listen to each of Henry's attempts and what happens to foil each one. 

I liked the innocence of the time, how kids could go walking for blocks to go to a police bicycle auction by themselves and no one thought anything of it.  I don't know if times really were safer or if people thought they were safer, but even I can recall being able to walk to friends houses and ride my bike without adult supervision.  My children don't have anywhere near as much freedom now.  If it were just me I would say it was possible I was being overprotective, but it seems to be pretty universal.  They play outside all the time, but they stay in the backyard and the ones of their friends who are nearby and I sit outside with them or step inside the kitchen and watch from the window while I get something done.  I don't want to make them afraid, but even our bus driver won't allow the children off the bus if someone isn't there to pick them up whereas I used to walk home from school alone.  Time have changed, so it is nice to read about a time when we weren't as cautious or afraid.

Some of Henry's comments and thoughts about Beezus and being a girl rubbed me the wrong way sometimes, but then she almost always proved him wrong so maybe that wasn't such a big deal.  The narrator's voice for Ramona was very whiny and annoying, I am not sure if that was on purpose or just the voice he was using, but it made her a not very appealing character.  Since we really liked Ramona in the other books we read I was disappointed by that.  All in all though, this was very enjoyable to listen to and even my two year old seemed to get it.

•Pub. Date: March 1990
•Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
•Format: Paperback , 208pp
•Age Range: 6 to 9
•Series: Henry Huggins Series
•ISBN-13: 9780380709144
•ISBN: 0380709147

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