Sunday, January 22, 2012


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Henry and Beezus, Beverly Cleary, William Morrow and Company, 1952, 192 pp


In her third book for middle-grade readers, Henry Huggins returns. This time he wants a bicycle, another icon of 1950s suburban life. His adventures and efforts to procure the bike are shared with Beezus and her little sister Ramona, who feature in some of the later stories.

A third grade boy being forced into hanging out with a girl is the issue here. Funnily enough, I don't recall it being a big deal if you played with boys or girls when I was that age, but there was only one boy among several girls in my neighborhood, so it could have been more of a problem for him.

Henry's dog Ribsy as much of a character as the kids. The neighborhood bully gets what's coming to him and everyone has fun. Cleary makes it clear that a kid's problems are as real and important as any adult's.

I am still mystified as to how I missed these books when I was that age. I can only figure that I was living that life instead of reading about it.

(Henry and Beezus is available in paperback on the shelf at Once Upon A Time Bookstore. It is also available as an eBook by order. To find it in your nearest indie bookstore, click on the cover image above.)

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