Henry and Ribsy by Beverly Cleary

Book reviews are subjective. I tend to rate books not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me.

Henry and Ribsy by Beverly Cleary

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

(Click the title to find the book description/blurb.)

Henry Huggins feels it’s high time he was allowed to go along on one of his father’s fishing trips. Mr. Huggins agrees on one condition: Henry must keep his dog, Ribsy, out of trouble from now until the next trip. Sounds like a fair enough deal, but Henry soon learns it may not be so easy in Henry and Ribsy by author Beverly Cleary.

In the words of Henry himself: boy, oh, boy! This little span of less than two months is quite an adventure. Ribsy is such a mix of four-legged, tail-wagging fun and well-enough-meaning mischief. I even became heartbreakingly frightened for him at one point (you know, in the curious way it’s possible to feel heartbreak and fright while reading a pleasant children’s tale.)

Besides the goings-on with Ribsy, it’s something to watch Henry navigate some relatable joys and trials of childhood: trying to keep up with and impress an older kid, wanting to get all the mileage he can out of his loose teeth, despairing at a bad haircut that makes him “look all chewed.” Yes, you can empathize with Henry’s frustration in those moments when grownups don’t understand and won’t listen—and his surprised relief when they do.

This book had me laughing so hard at times that I couldn’t go on until I could go on, especially when it came to the antics of a certain little neighbor of Henry’s, Ramona Geraldine Quimby. It might be cheating that Ramona got my biggest laugh here, given that she’s my longtime favorite Cleary character and this is one of Henry’s stories. But, gee! I couldn’t help cracking up!

I plan to read at least one more Henry book pretty soon.

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Note to my blog readers: I didn’t actually get to read an old copy with illustrations by Louis Darling. I have a new copy from Harper, but my nostalgic self and I couldn’t resist using the old-fashioned book cover for this review.

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After Henry and Ribsy, I just had to read (or reread, after so many years) Ribsy.

 

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