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