Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Henry and the Paper Route

Henry and the Paper Route

Beverly Cleary
Illustrator:  Tracy Dockray 
Fiction  Series
For ages 8 to 10
HarperCollins, 1990   ISBN: 978-0380709212

Sometimes it is very hard being almost, but not quite, eleven years old . Henry Huggins knows that he needs to be eleven years old before Mr. Capper will consider hiring him to do a paper route. Henry cannot help thinking that all he needs to do is to impress Mr. Capper and then the man will agree to take Henry on now. What can he do to convince Mr. Capper that he is responsible enough to do the job?

Henry first tries getting new subscribers for The Journal, thinking that this would be a very grown-up thing to do. He ties to entice potential customers by offering to give new subscribers a free kitten. Henry acquired the kittens at a rummage sale and now he is having a very hard time finding homes for them.

Then Henry agrees to take over Scooter's route for him every so often so that Scooter can have more free time. Being an enterprising boy, Henry puts advertisements in the papers that he delivers, asking the subscribers to donate newspapers and magazines for the school paper drive. Little does Henry know that his advertisements will be more than just a little too successful.

Then, at last, Henry gets his very own route, but he still has a big problem. Ramona Quimby has decided that she is also going to be a "paper boy" and she makes it neigh on impossible for Henry to get his newspapers delivered.

Who would have thought that being a paper boy could be so complicated? As per usual Henry gets himself into all kinds of pickles. He ends up with kittens crawling up his shirt, mountains of paper to process, and so much more. Still, Henry is nothing if not persistent, and with the help of his parents and his friends, he finally gets what he wants.

Wonderfully funny and full of characters whom children can identify with, this book is still as relevant for today's children as it was when it was first published in 1957. The situations Henry Huggins gets into will delight readers, and they will be eager to find out how the boy with big hopes and dreams manages to fix the messes he cannot seem to avoid, no matter what he does.