Friday, March 11, 2011
Henry Huggins was in the third grade. His hair looked like a scrubbing brush and most of his grown-up front teeth were in. He lived with his mother and father in a square white house on Klickitat Street. 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. I wish something exciting would happen, Henry often thought. But nothing very interesting ever happened to Henry, at least not until one Wednesday afternoon in March.
Growing up, I just loved, loved, loved the Ramona books by Beverly Cleary. (Beezus and Ramona, Ramona the Pest, Ramona the Brave, Ramona and Her Father, Ramona and Her Mother, Ramona Quimby Age 8, Ramona Forever, Ramona's World.) But I don't think I paid the same attention to the Henry Huggins books--in fact, I'm not sure I read them at all. (Though the incident with the guppies in chapter two did feel familiar, so perhaps I read the first one.) Did I enjoy Henry Huggins? Yes! Very much. I found the book to be very funny, very playful. The chapters are episodic which was just perfect. Readers see Henry playing with his dog, playing with the neighborhood children, learning responsibility, working to earn extra money, and we see Henry at school. There's a Christmas chapter which I just found delightful! In "The Green Christmas" Henry Huggins is cast as the star of the Christmas play. Unfortunately is the worst role in the world for him to get--he's cast as Timmy. First, he's cast as a LITTLE boy. Second, he'll have to wear pajamas. Third, he'll be tucked into bed, and kissed by his mother (an eighth grade girl). Fourth, he then "falls" asleep and dreams the whole play. And that's just for starters. Henry thinks and thinks and thinks. He HAS to find a way to get out of this humiliating play. Good thing he rescued Ribsy in chapter one, for this dog may just end up saving him!
I also loved the second chapter, "Gallons of Guppies." In this chapter, Henry learns that two fish can turn into TOO MANY fish within a matter of weeks or months. It was just a great chapter, very funny!
© 2011 Becky Laney of Young Readers