Thanks to her masterful ability to capture the essence of childhood, Beverly Cleary’s books have sold over 90 million copies and have delighted readers for over 65 years. If you haven’t yet made the acquaintance of Cleary’s charming Henry Huggins, you’re in for a special treat!
Henry Huggins is an ordinary boy who lives on an ordinary street, but his adventures are anything but ordinary. “Except for having his tonsils out when he was six and breaking his arm falling out of a cherry tree when he was seven, nothing much happened to Henry.” But all of that changes when Henry brings home a mischievous canine named Ribsy who becomes Henry’s devoted companion. Taking care of Ribsy is sometimes more than Henry bargained for, but luckily he’s up to the challenge.
Henry is an endearing hero with big goals and a tenacious spirit. And even when Henry’s dreams—like getting a bike and building a clubhouse—end up taking a bit of a detour on the way to their fulfillment, it’s always fun to go along for the ride.
Take our free Henry Huggins checklist to your local library!
Beverly Cleary is a well-loved Newbery Award-winning author of more than 30 books, including the wildly popular Ramona Quimby series and a delightful series featuring a motorcycle-riding mouse named Ralph S. Mouse. But long before Ramona and Ralph starred in their own series, Cleary was penning tales about an adventurous boy named Henry Huggins. In fact, Henry Huggins, published in 1950, was Cleary’s very first book. It was followed by five more Henry books over the next fourteen years.
As with the Ramona books, the Henry books are set in the fictional world of Klickitat Street, during a picturesque era that transcends time. Ramona and her sister Beezus make frequent appearances throughout the Henry books. And fans of Ramona will recall that Henry is a regular character in the Ramona series. Over time, the Ramona series eclipsed Henry Huggins in terms of widespread recognition, but the Henry books are charming and humorous, and an absolute delight to read aloud.
In Henry Huggins, readers are introduced to the indomitable young Henry and his dog, Ribsy. Henry has a penchant for turning ordinary activities into something memorable, and Ribsy’s troublesome antics only add to the adventure. Whether he’s gathering night crawlers to sell to fishermen or trying to cope with an overabundance of guppies in his bedroom(!), Henry manages to handle everything that comes his way, all while keeping an eye on Ribsy . . . usually.
In Henry and Beezus, Henry decides that he needs a bicycle. Thankfully, Beezus Quimby—with the “help” of her little sister Ramona—is around to provide ideas and encouragement as Henry looks for ways to add money to his bike fund. A windfall discovery of abandoned bubble gum puts Henry in a sticky situation, but the bubble gum is definitely more flavorful than the can of dog food that Henry almost eats on a dare!
Having happily achieved his bicycle goal, Henry moves on to a new dream in Henry and Ribsy. He wants to go salmon fishing with his father, but there’s a catch: Henry must keep Ribsy out of trouble for nearly two months. As Henry discovers, this is more easily said than done. A Ribsy-related issue involving garbage causes Henry some grief, but all the stress is worth it when Henry embarks on the fishing trip and lands an unexpected surprise.
Author: Beverly Cleary
Genre: children’s fiction, humor
Interests: friendship, pets, childhood mischief, growing up
Suggested age range: 8 to 12
Gender preference: boys and girls
In the series: 6 books, 192 to 240 pages
Do your kids need extra encouragement to read?
Take our Henry Huggins Series checklist to your local library and have your child check off the books as he reads them.
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