Series Review: Henry Huggins

HENRY HUGGINSThe Henry Huggins series of books by Beverly Cleary. They are, in chronological order, Henry Huggins (1950), Henry and Beezus (1952), Henry and Ribsy (1954), Henry and the Paper Route (1957), Henry and the Clubhouse (1962), and Ribsy. The Henry Huggins series contains the Ribsy series and meshes with the Ramona series.

For our second–and the second largest–character series by Cleary, we moved from Ramona to Henry and his beloved dog, Ribsy. The first scene introduces Ribsy and he appears in all the books, more or less prominent.

We were once again drawn into life on Klickitat Street in 1950s Oregon. We were once again lulled and charmed by the simple writing, the realistic characters, and the small things of suburban life. While we did enjoy the series, we found it did not quite live up to the Ramona series.

HENRY HUGGINS SERIES

A couple complaints: too many adverbs (those pesky, oft-unnecessary -ly words), and sometimes Huggins is a butthead. Yes, he is a little boy and little boys are often buttheads, but my kids were surprised by Henry’s internal dialogues and how annoyed he is by anyone who gets in his way. He wouldn’t act out, but he’d sure think some mean things. (Of course, this is all relative to the time period and place we are reading about. His being a butthead is nothing compared to some more modern characters and situations my kids might read about.)

Also, Ramona is not entirely consistent with her character in her namesake series. Just a warning: you aren’t going to fall in love with Ramona laterally.

I honestly don’t know if I have much more to say. Huggins was nice, but it was no Ramona. Cleary is nice, but she’s at her best with Ramona. Read Ramona first, and if you want to stay in that world, try Huggins. Our favorite was Henry and the Clubhouse.

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