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Henry Reed Chapter Books

Do your children enjoy books about enterprising young boys who try hard to do big things, but don’t always succeed? If so, you won’t want to miss the absolutely delightful Henry Reed series by Keith Robertson. (And if you loved Henry Huggins, you’ll love this Henry, too!)

Who Is Henry Reed?

Book cover of Henry Reed's Baby-Sitting Service

As the son of a diplomat, Henry Reed has traveled all over the world, but now he’s spending the summers in New Jersey and he’s determined to make the most of his months in America. He wastes no time in adopting a dog (a beagle named Agony), making a friend (a girl named Midge), and starting a business (a research firm). Along the way, Henry finds time to pursue his interest in becoming a naturalist, makes a few unexpected discoveries, and inadvertently antagonizes his neighbors over and over again.

Henry Reed has ambition and vision, and whether he’s truffle hunting in the woods or launching a hydrogen-filled balloon with two furry stowaways, you always know that Henry’s adventures will be memorable. And this makes them especially fun for read-aloud time!

Take our free Henry Reed Checklist to your local library!

About the Author and Series

Keith Robertson (1914–1991) was born in Iowa and attended the United States Naval Academy. Before he embarked on a four-decade career as an author of children’s books, Robertson pursued a very different line of work. As the captain of a naval destroyer during World War II, Robertson managed to earn five battle stars!

As a writer, Robertson produced 15 children’s books and authored half a dozen adult mysteries under a pseudonym. His five-volume Henry Reed series, published between 1958 and 1986, has achieved the most acclaim, winning awards such as the William Allen White Children’s Book Award and the Pacific Northwest Library Association Young Reader’s Choice Award. Henry Reed, Inc. was also an ALA Notable Book.

The first four Henry Reed books feature the charming artwork of Caldecott Medal–winning illustrator Robert McCloskey.

About the Books

book cover of Henry Reed, Inc.

In Henry Reed, Inc., we meet thirteen-year-old Henry Reed, who has come to spend the summer with his aunt and uncle in the small town of Grover’s Corner, New Jersey. To record his summer adventures, Henry begins a journal—not a diary. As Henry explains,

…diaries are kept by girls and tell all about their dates and what they think of their different boy friends … When I read about pirates and explorers and sea captains, they always keep journals, so this is going to be a journal.

Henry immediately decides to go into the research business and finds an enthusiastic business partner in twelve-year-old Midge Glass, who contributes a pair of rabbits and a lot of common sense to the endeavor. Over the course of the summer, Henry and Midge concoct a variety of research projects that seem sensible at first but actually bring nothing but mayhem to Grover’s Corner.

Henry sets out on a memorable cross-country adventure in Henry Reed’s Journey. In his classic style, Henry records the events in his journal as he travels from California to New Jersey with Midge and her family. Along the way, they visit Disneyland, gaze at the Grand Canyon, and attempt to pan for gold—all while stumbling into the variety of unpredictable adventures that readers come to expect from Reed & Glass, Inc.!

Back in Grover’s Corner for another summer, Henry hatches a new idea: to earn money by offering a babysitting service to neighborhood families. Henry Reed’s Babysitting Service chronicles the hijinks—both hysterical and horrifying—that occur while Henry and Midge tackle a strenuous summer of babysitting.

The Henry Reed Series at a Glance

Book cover of Henry Reed's Journey

Author: Keith Robertson
Genre: children’s fiction, humor
Interests: friendship, entrepreneurism, childhood mischief, growing up
Suggested age range: 8 to 12
Gender preference: boys and girls
In the series: 5 books, 208 to 240 pages

Other Books in the Series

Henry Reed’s Big Show (Book #4)
Henry Reed’s Think Tank (Book #5)

(Books 4 and 5 are currently out of print; check your local library.)

Henry Reed’s Series Checklist

thumbnail of Henry Reed Library List

Do your kids need extra encouragement to read?

Take our Henry Reed Series checklist to your local library and have your child check off the books as he reads them.

Looking for more great chapter books? We’ve got you covered!

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Abby

says:

Looks good!

Becky Vissing

says:

Very excited to learn about these for my boys! Always looking for good books that my boys will enjoy!

Navine

says:

Thanks so much for recommending these books! My daughter loves them because she is a budding entrepreneur like Henry. Can’t wait to try the other books you recommend.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Navine,
Thank you for letting us know your daughter is loving these books. They do tend to be great for children that have entrepreneurial tendencies, and for kids that haven’t tried their hands at entrepreneurialism, it can motivate them to give it a shot!

Cyndi

says:

I am looking forward to checking out this series.

Kristin

says:

Love reading with my son, 9 years old. Looking forward to when he can enjoy reading himself!

Valerie

says:

I love hearing about great reads for kids that focus on hard work, grit, and good old fashioned fun! Thanks for the suggestion.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Valerie,
Yes! And Henry Reed definitely has all of these.

Brenda

says:

I happy to have found out about this series before my son is too old to enjoy it.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Brenda,
You are never too old to enjoy great literature! I read Charlotte’s Web in high school because I had never gotten around to reading it before. I still loved it!

Hannah Eroh

says:

I’ve never heard of this series but I’m sure my 7 and 5 year olds would love it!

B

says:

My two older daughters enjoyed our reading Henry Huggins so I bet my youngest will like this series. We are currently enjoying Laura Ingalls Wilder’s books.

Melissa

says:

Looks like a great series to check out!

Sharon Hostetler

says:

Thanks for the list. Always looking for good books to interest my grandsons.

Precious

says:

The adventures caught in the Henry book series will surely entice my boys. Thank you for recommending. (Actually it is enticing me, their mom, as well.)

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

You are welcome. Just hope your boys aren’t enticed enough to fill a tub with earthworms! :D

Betsy

says:

Thank you for the recommendation. I’m always looking for good books for my son.

Cathy

says:

Thanks for the great booklist!

Dawn

says:

I love getting chapter book ideas! We’ve loved all the Ramona books and how those led to Henry Huggins books. Can’t wait to meet Henry Reed!
Thank you! I’ve been using AAR and AAS with all three of my children and LOVE the program!!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Dawn,
Since you have loved Romona and Henry Huggins, I’m pretty sure that you will love Henry Reed as well. Thank you for letting us know that All About Reading and All About Spelling is working so well for all three of your children.

Kari

says:

These Henry Reed books sound like a perfect fit for our 2 boys (ages 10 & 12). Thanks for sharing!

Melissa

says:

Thanks for posting about this series!

Amanda Yeary

says:

We have the full set of Ramona books that we are beginning to read to my four-year-old son during read-aloud time. This series sounds like a good one to keep in mind once we get through with Ramona. Thanks for your post. I did not know anything about the Henry Reed books, and I think my son will really enjoy them in a year or so!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Amanda,
If you son is enjoying Ramona so much, you might consider reading about a different Henry next, Henry Huggins. Henry Huggins lives in the same neighborhood as Ramona and is even friends with Beezus!

Henry Reed is also very enjoyable, but Henry Huggins isn’t to be missed for a fan of Ramona!

Alena

says:

I love your reading suggestions. Thank you!

Brandi

says:

Can’t wait to read these always looking for a new read

Donald

says:

Thank you for these suggestions…I’ll probably bankrupt myself getting hold of these books!

Megan

says:

Thank you for this! I am always looking for appropriate books to read to my boys and I love having a review.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

You are welcome, Megan, and hope your boys enjoy these.

Sandra

says:

Thank you for the review, always glad to have more books for my kids! We’ll print off the list for the next time we hit the library!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Sandra,
In case you were wanting more reviews, here is a link to our Chapter Book Review archive.

Lisa Foster

says:

Thanks for this suggestion! Always looking for good chapter books to read with my son.

Renae

says:

I appreciate the reviews of chapter book series. I will eventually be at the step of choosing solid, pure, enjoyable chapter books for my son to read. I have added this to my ongoing list of good books to choose from. Thank you.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

You are welcome, Renae. You might find our Chapter Book Archive helpful as it is one link to all of our chapter book reviews. Each time we do a new one we add it there.

Liz Seiltgen

says:

I am SOOOOO glad that you’ve reviewed these books! We checked them out from the library last week and my 10 year old son is enjoying them immensely. Thank you, thank you!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Liz,
Thank you for coming back and letting us know your son has enjoyed these so much!

Shonda

says:

My son and daughter are always doing something experimental in our home. They are 6 and 8. I think my son would enjoy reading these books.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Shonda,
Oh, I think they will enjoy Henry Reed. His idea to start a private research business might give your children ideas!

April

says:

Thanks for this suggestion. I love books that come in a series.

Amanda

says:

New to homeschooling and we love reading in our home! This definitely looks like something we can use!

Nicole

says:

Excited to try out AAR

Ceitleen

says:

Thank you All About Learning Press your curriculum is wonderful. It engages my children, they always ask to start the school day with a reading lesson. I love all the book list you send out like this one, it helps me to guide my blossoming readers towards great authors!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Ceitleen,
Thank you! We are happy to help guide families to wonderful authors and books they may not have heard of before.

Kelly

says:

I need to check out this series

Laura

says:

ARR is helping us so much!

Elizabeth

says:

Looks like a great series!

Amanda e

says:

These look like so much fun! My son would love to read these independently and with me!

This has been our first year using AAR and we love it. Can’t wait to try AAR level 2!

Debby

says:

I would love to win! I just love your resources, but only have to level 2.

Angela Zarzana

says:

These are next on our reading list!😁

Jessica Padilla

says:

This would be wonderful for my son.

Jo kirk

says:

Love all about reading!!!

Sharia Jones

says:

These books look awesome! Love them!

Kathy

says:

Loved this book!

April W

says:

Wow! These look so awesome!

Shannan

says:

Looking forward to reading these with my kids!

Bambi

says:

As a mother of 4 boys, I am so glad I came across this info! I can’t wait to read these books with them.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Bambi,
Henry Reed may motivate your boys to go out and find ways to make money. Just hope it’s not with a tub full of earthworms! (That’s in the first book.)

Rachel Eidson

says:

I will have to see if my library has these.
Thanks for the post. Always looking for great books for my boys to read.

Cari

says:

Would love to have my boys read these!

Hollie

says:

This looks like a great series!

Jessica

says:

I’m excited to check out this series for my son who needs some reading motivation!

Krista

says:

Love All about Reading. This may be a series we need to buy!

BAILEY STIEGLER

says:

Thanks for the suggestion!!

Beth

says:

Looks like a great series for my boys! Thx!

Elizabeth R

says:

This series looks great!

Flavia

says:

I’d love level 2! Loving level 1

Beth

says:

I’ll have to check this series out! I think my son would like these.

Roberta Coleman

says:

I read with my grand daughter every night. She likes the Henry books.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Roberta,
Thank you for letting us know that your granddaughter likes the Henry Reed books!

Ashley

says:

These look like great books for my boys when they are a little older!

Amy B

says:

I hadn’t heard of these, but will be checking into them!

Mary

says:

My Kids will LOVE these…… after we work though the current pile ;)

Deanna

says:

Love the ideas!

Renee

says:

I love using All About Reading with my students.

Kirsten

says:

Thank you for the extra reading ideas

Laura

says:

Great website!!

Mysheel

says:

I needed more ideas. Thank you!!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Mysheel,
We have even more chapter book reviews available here. Also, check back as we post a new one every month or so.

Amber

says:

Wonderful. Thank you!

Rachel

says:

Adding these to my kiddo’s reading list!

Stacy Rivers

says:

So glad I came across this website! Super helpful

Nathan

says:

Nice idea, how about a sister series with a female protagonist?

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Nathan,
Well, despite the fact that these books are titled after the character Henry, his female friend Midge plays a large role in the series and is Henry’s partner in his entrepreneurial adventures. She is equally the protagonist. These books are well enjoyed by boys and girls.

However, we have many other chapter book reviews if you would prefer something else.

Jess

says:

We love checking out new chapter books and read alouds. Thanks!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Jess,
Just in case you haven’t seen them, here is a link to the numerous chapter book reviews we have done. Check back about once a month for more as well!

Linda

says:

I’ve never heard of these, but they sound interesting. Thank you.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Linda,
They are wonderfully interesting and funny!

KARINA WERNER

says:

This looks like great read aloud material for my girls too!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Karina,
Definitely!

LoryAnn

says:

This looks right up my 9 year old’s alley! I have been struggling to find books that keep his attention.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

LoryAnn,
We’re happy this series looks like it’ll be a good fit for your 9-year-old. We also have a number of other chapter book reviews that may fit your student’s needs.

Michelle

says:

Thank you for the recommendation!

taylor

says:

I love the artist in this series. ;)

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Taylor,
I agree! I love Robert McCloskey’s illustrations, and he was also a children’s author himself. He is most famous for Make Way for Ducklings, but his chapter book Homer Price is similar to Henry Reed, Inc. in many ways.

Patrice

says:

Would be perfect for my 9yr old!

Mary

says:

Thank you for this book series! The library book check list is handy.

Barbara herring

says:

I have a reluctant reader in the second grade who wishes to read chapter books. Do you have any suggestions? Barbara

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Barbara,
The best selection of good beginning chapter books I know of is Sonlight Curriculum’s Grade 2 Readers. Many of the books can be found at a good library.

However, “second grade” is more of an age range and doesn’t necessarily tell me your child’s reading ability. Sonlight’s Grade 2 Readers were too difficult for a few of my children when they were second grade age. However, a couple of my children could read them at a younger age. If you could give me the titles of a couple of books your child is able to read, I may be able to give you some more targeted suggestions.

Lastly, young learners and those struggling to read can still enjoy chapter books by listening to them. We recommend reading aloud to your child daily, and audiobooks are a great option as well.

Brandi Cotton

says:

I think my son should read these but he’s a little young for them. Maybe we will try one,bit by bit. Thanks!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Brandi,
Rather than having your son read them, considering reading them aloud to him. Henry Reed, Inc. and the rest of the series make wonderful books to enjoy together!

Amanda

says:

Love this!!

Sarah

says:

Love the look of these books. I wonder if I can get them in the UK?

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Sarah,
I did a quick google search and found Henry Reed, Inc. available at a few places in the UK used. However, I couldn’t find it new. You might want to check your library system as well, however. These books aren’t that new so they may be available at a good library.

I’m sorry I can’t be more help.

Jenna

says:

We are currently at AAR level 3 and AAS level 2… what “level” would you say these chapter books correspond best with? That would be awesome if there some sort of recommended booklist associated with AAL levels. Especially as I have a 10 year old eager to read chapter books but many are too advanced yet. We’re working hard and look forward to the day he can pick any book he wants with confidence:)

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Jenna,
The Henry Reed chapter books are excellent read alouds, but would probably be best for a child to read during or after AAR 4. It has a pretty high reading level.

Here are some books that others have told us they used with AAR 3. However, we have not looked at all of these to make sure there are no new patterns introduced. I know some will have a few new patterns, so pre-read the materials if you have a struggling learner who might need more help or gets easily frustrated.

High Noon Books Sound Out Chapter Books

The titles that start with Mr. Putter and Tabby. . . (after AAR 2, with some help).
Pick the Pears
Paint the Porch
Dance the Dance
Spin the Yarn
Stir the Soup

(and many more)

Christian Liberty Press has a set of 4 Phonics readers: It Is Fun To Read, Pals and Pets, A Time At Home, and It Is a Joy To Learn. Book 3 mainly uses concepts from AAR 2 and 3 and book 4 might be better after AAR 3 for a child that struggles or gets frustrated.

Sonlight readers. Their early cores have some wonderful reader choices such as the Frog and Toad books, Amelia Bedelia, Nate the Great, Greg’s Microscope, and other childhood favorites. Look specifically at the Grade 2 and Grade 3 Readers. My daughter read a lot of them as she worked through the second half of AAR 2 and through AAR 3.

My Father’s Dragon trilogy. These are mostly decodable with some new words they’ll need help with after AAR 2. It will be even easier after AAR 3.

Magic Treehouse books

Henry and Mudge series

Now I’m Reading.

Fly Leaf, A Book to Remember has very nice pictures but can be expensive. You might check your library for these. Book 1 can be read early in AAR 2, and books 2 and 3 can be read in AAR 3.

Fun Phonics might also be a possibility. The last 3 books include concepts from AAR 2-3.

I hope this helps somewhat. At minimum, these will give you books to attempt and once you find ones your child enjoys and does well with you can use the Lexile level of those books to find others on a similar level.

Debra C

says:

I will have to check these out for my daughter. She likes to read all of the books in a set. So far, she’s working her way through all of Beverly Cleary’s books. Plus, she’s read all of a few other series of books that were a little more twaddle-ish. But she loves them and is reading, so I try not to be too strict about things. I just try to steer her toward wholesome stuff and the good sticks more than the bad.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Debra,
The Henry Reed books are really good! Henry’s and Midge’s businesses are both clever and hilarious.

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