Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Beverly Cleary Author Study: Dear Mr. Henshaw

 Illustrations by Paul O. Zelinsky. 

I read this as a kid and it’s always stuck out in my mind as the first book I read written in epistolary form, but it wasn’t until re-reading it as an adult that the gravity of the overall book really hit me. 

I had remembered Leigh as being a kid writing to an author, but I forgot how much you learn about him through the letters. It’s interesting to see what he thinks of his life and how he portrays that to Mr. Henshaw. I especially love that we never see Mr. Henshaw’s letters to Leigh, but can still fill in the blanks by what’s written.

This book is really deep, and I think it was ahead of its time. I think Cleary is touching on so many interesting aspects of family life and divorced parents, especially considering this was published in 1983.

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