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.

Ribsy by Beverly Cleary

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

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

After a shopping trip gone somewhat wrong, Henry’s dog, Ribsy, ends up lost. So begins an adventure of ups and downs on this lively and loyal canine’s quest to find his way back home in Ribsy by author Beverly Cleary.

Gee. I know I read this book at some point during my childhood, and I’ll bet I enjoyed it. I also think it’s very likely that I enjoyed it even more this time around.

While this is another Henry Huggins and Ribsy tale, this one is mostly from middle-aged Ribsy’s point of view. (Double gee. Did that detail ever stick out to me before, that friendly and enthusiastic Ribsy is middle-aged?)

This book didn’t have quite as many laughs for me as other Henry books, but I felt just as much. Felt for Ribsy through all of the twists and turns on his search for home and his favorite boy. Couldn’t help but smile at Ribsy’s antics and his “making every effort to be charming” even under new and strange circumstances.

It’s funny how insightful this story manages to be, giving glimpses into the lives of an interesting mix of people along the way. And with the way various moments during Ribsy’s journey tugged on my heartstrings, the moments of excitement were all the more satisfying.

Yup. Emotional, exciting, and satisfying all around. A book with plenty more reasons why Cleary is still my all-time favorite children’s book author.

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Ribsy’s adventures with Henry Huggins begin in, well, Henry Huggins.

 

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.

 

Henry Huggins 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 Huggins by Beverly Cleary

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

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

Although Henry has fun going to the Y and swimming and things, he feels like nothing exciting ever happens to him. But then one day he meets a stray, thin, rambunctious dog and names him Ribsy. Little does Henry know of all the excitement he’ll be in for now in Henry Huggins by author Beverly Cleary.

Wow! I’ve read a couple of other Henry books before, but I didn’t know (or didn’t remember?) that this one is actually the first book Cleary ever had published, back in good ol’ 1950.

It’s a fun and pleasant read overall, and a little nostalgic for a reader like me. Typewriters, telephone booths where you can make a call for a nickel, and a young hero who says things like, “Gee, Dad, that’s swell!” Yeah, I laughed out loud a couple good times (Henry is hilarious for trying to write that letter), and it was great to see sisters Beezus (Beatrice) and Ramona where they actually first appear in a book. Been there all the time, but, hey, it’s new to me!

I’m like the author in that the Ramona books that come later are my favorites of Cleary’s work. But what a nice introduction this book is to Henry, Ribsy, and the gang on Klickitat Street.

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Note to my blog readers: no, I didn’t actually read an old copy with illustrations by Louis Darling. I have a new copy from Harper instead. But me and my nostalgic self couldn’t resist using that great old book cover up there.

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Here’s my review of the second book in the Henry Huggins series, Henry and Beezus.

 

Henry and Beezus 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 Beezus by Beverly Cleary

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

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

Henry Huggins is determined to earn enough money to buy himself a bicycle. Along with the other advantages of his having a set of wheels, maybe it’ll stop that older kid, Scooter, from needlessly showing his bike off so much. Although a neighbor of Henry’s, Beezus Quimby, happens to be a girl, she just may be able to help Henry get a bike of his own in Henry and Beezus by author Beverly Cleary.

I vaguely remember reading this book sometime during my childhood, back when I read other books about Henry and his dog, Ribsy. But I picked it up again since I’ve been revisiting the Ramona Quimby books, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Nothing like reading a tale from the 1950s, where kids say things like “Gee whillikers!” and really mean it. And if I once found this book to be funny, it was even funnier to me this time around. No, not just because somebody says “Gee whillikers!” but because the humor in the story is truly on point. Henry has quite the adventures in his efforts to raise money, and Beezus and Ramona add much to the fun of it all (even though it may not all be “fun” for them, exactly.)

There are a good bunch of reasons why Beverly Cleary was my favorite author as a child. A great story like this one is a good reason.

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Here’s my review of the third book in the Henry Huggins series, Henry and Ribsy.