Henry and Beezus by Beverly Cleary
Henry is friends with a neighborhood girl named Beezus. That’s not really her name. It’s actually Beatrice, but her little sister, Ramona, calls her Beezus and so does everyone else. Beezus and Henry have been on quite a few adventures, many of them involving Ramona, who is quite an odd little kid. One day she wants to pretend she’s waiting for the bus, which isn’t fun at all, but Beezus tells Henry that he can’t tell Ramona that. Ramona thinks it’s fun.
Henry wants a bicycle more than anything. He saves up a little over four dollars by doing various things. He goes to an auction where bikes will be auctioned off. He gets Beezus to bid for him, but the bike he ends up with is a girl’s bike. He tries to fix it up, but it’s crooked. Parts are missing. The chain is all messed up. Henry is sad about this.
At a local festival Henry manages to win some coupons for the beauty salon. Soon people are offering to buy his coupons. He soon has almost enough money for his bike.
What I liked
It’s good that Henry and Beezus are friends. Sometimes kids think that being friends with a kid of the opposite sex is weird, but it can be fun. You get to do things you may not have normally been able to do if you were playing with kids of your own gender. I ended up building a lot of forts and spending hours in the woods because I had friends that were boys growing up in addition to having friends that were girls. Things got a little rough at points, like that time I beat up the neighbor boy. I can’t remember what he did, but he deserved it.
What I didn’t like
The kids in these books are so much more independent than kids would be today. Kids of the age of Henry and Beezus, and Ramona for that matter, wouldn’t be allowed to do half the things that Henry, Beezus and Ramona do in this book. Kids just aren’t as independent. In some instances it’s not safe for them to be, in others, they’re just treated younger.
I’m glad Henry got his bike.
Would you let your children do the things Beezus and Henry do in this book?
Were you friends with a kid of the opposite gender growing up?