There are new illustrations for Henry Huggins that I hated. I was reading this on my phone, and I actually went out and find a hard copy of Henry Huggins just so I could leaf through the old time photos and feel nostalgic. Maybe kids needed new illustrations - but they were already old din 1979 when I read it, and someone they didn’t bother me then. And I thought they looked out of date now. That’s an adult talking again though; kids wont’ know any different and a childre’s novel is always more than just its pictures.
If Henry Huggins was in third grade in 1950, that means he was born about 1940 or 1941. In 1950, the war had only been over for five years - even within Henry’s memory. Yet the United States had moved on into the baby boom, and nothing even came up about the war in the book. I thought that was interesting - and I wondered how true that was - five years later, was World War II already a fading memory?
Henry Huggins by Beverly Cleary
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
The last time I read Henry Huggins was in elementary school - I’d say fourth or fifth grade. I loved (and still love) re-reading books, so I know I read it numerous times. I’m amazed at how much came back to me as I re-read it as a 48 year old adult: the Christmas pageant, the guppies, the nightcrawlers, the King Solomon ending. Beverly Cleary understood how kids think and act and feel about the world and each other. There is a scene in the last chapter when Beezus and Mary Jane are trying to be tight rope walkers, and Henry and Robert are watching them, and making fun of them for it, and I thought “That was us, back in 1979” all of the neighborhood kids; we would have been doing and saying those same things. That was 30 years after the book was written; here we are, nearly 70 years after the book was written, and I still think much of the book would resonate and read true. That was Beverly Cleary’s genius and why she is still in print: she understood what was going on in the minds of kids.
View all my reviews