Saturday, August 12, 2006
Dear Mr. Henshaw, by Beverly Cleary,
In second grade, Leigh Botts (boy) writes a fanmail letter to Boyd Henshaw, a children's book author, launching a correspondence, a diary, and literary aspirations. From second through sixth grade, Leigh writes to Mr. Henshaw, in stages revealing the unraveling of his family through divorce, and his vulnerability as missing-Dad, wrong-side-of-the-tracks, new kid in school, a kid whose lunches are ransacked daily, yet there ain't no justice. Mr. Henshaw, and more importantly, the act of writing to him, builds Leigh's nascent confidence and coping skills. An effective use of the epistolary form; sympathetic realism that keepts its dignity, and its protagonist's. Recommended.