Henry Huggins’ dynamic with his friend Beatrice “Beezus” Quimby, as well as his determination to finally have a bike of his own, is the central theme of Henry’s second book, Henry and Beezus.
Henry and Beezus by Beverly Cleary
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Henry is envious of his neighbor Scooter McCarthy’s bicycle. His parents aren’t able to buy him one, so the ever-enterprising Henry is determined to save up money for one. Be it selling bulk gumballs he finds abandoned in the bushes on Klickitat Street, or proving to Scooter that he can handle Scooter’s paper route to earn the money for a bicycle, Henry will earn the money for the bicycle so he can ride it in the parade.
There’s the bike auction at the police department and Beezus trying to help Henry, the time Henry ate dog food, and a prize at the market grand opening that contribute to Henry’s misadventures along the way to his ultimate goal.
I never read any of the Henry Huggins books as a kid, with the exception of his first book. And even that I vaguely remember. That said, I really enjoyed this story, and how it depicts Beezus as more than Ramona’s sister. Ramona does make appearances in this book, and is a long way from the little girl with the big imagination. Beezus is referred to as sensible by the narrator, which is something said often once her sister’s stories are told. As for Henry, his schemes toward earning money for his bike are enterprising and humorous.
The dialogue in Henry and Beezus reminds me of watching the black-and-white Dennis The Menace sitcom as a kid – very much of the time. Despite that, Henry is a realistic, convincing, and fun character. His personality is well-developed. Beverly Cleary always knew how to depict the children in his stories as three-dimensional and relatable to her audience. Henry and Beezus captures growing up beautifully, the start of things to come for the characters in Cleary’s world of Klickitat Street.
This one gets high praise from me. I’ll definitely be reading more of Henry’s stories at some point!
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