Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Henry and Ribsy

Henry and Ribsy. Beverly Cleary. 1954/1990. HarperCollins. 192 pages.

One warm Saturday morning in August, Henry Huggins and his mother and father were eating breakfast in their square white house on Klickitat Street. Henry's dog Ribsy sat close to Henry's chair, hoping for a handout. 

After enjoying the first two Henry Huggins books, I'm sad to say that I didn't enjoy this third in the series. Well, with one exception. The chapter on Ramona and the PTA was fabulous. For the most part, Henry and Ribsy is about Henry's desire to be allowed to go on a fishing trip with his father. His father has conditionally agreed to it. The problem? If anyone complains about Ribsy's behavior, then Henry will have to miss the trip after all. Can Henry keep his dog out of trouble? Is that too much to ask?

This one had me going "Poor, Henry" throughout. In the first chapter, Henry goes with his father to the service station.

Henry was happy to be going someplace, even just to the service station, with his father. He always had a grown-up, man-to-man feeling when they were alone together. He wished his father had time to take him places oftener. (12)

In the second chapter, Henry is learning responsibility and getting an increase in his allowance. His allowance will go up if and only if he agrees to take out the garbage each and every day. (I thought it funny when Cleary writes, "That week Henry took out the garbage every day. His mother never had to remind him more than twice" (43). But something happens which keeps the garbageman from collecting the Huggins' trash one week, and, well, the results are quite smelly. Poor Henry is trying to stuff the trash down as far as he can. Poor Henry jumping up and down in garbage, how could I not feel for him a little?

In the third chapter, his mother gives him a horrible, horrible haircut. He looks pitiful. And even his good friends can't help laughing at him. He thinks his case is helpless....until his mother saves the day by being sneaky! (I had to love that part!)

By far my favorite chapter was Ramona and the P.T.A. In this one, Henry's parents have gone to the P.T.A. meeting at school. Beezus and Ramona come over to his place--Henry and Beezus want to play checkers. But when Ramona tilts her icecream cone giving Ribsy the opportunity to steal it, well, let's just say the trouble begins. She gets him back. Don't worry on her account. For she steals his bone. That ends things from Ramona's point of view, not so much from Ribsy's. But Ramona finds something to throw a fit over, don't worry! She starts demanding P.T.A. She wants it. She needs it. Give it to her now. She doesn't understand that the initials are for a grown-up meeting. She thinks the letters mean something good like c-o-o-k-i-e-s and c-o-k-e-s and c-a-n-d-y. Can Henry and Beezus outsmart Ramona?

The rest of the book is about fishing. To me that means it becomes B-O-R-I-N-G.

© 2011 Becky Laney of Young Readers

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