Bibliography of Selected Works
This book is about a boy named Leigh
Botts who, because of a school assignment, begins a correspondence with his favorite writer, Mr. Henshaw. His parents have
divorced, he’s moved to a new school, and he’s having trouble with a lunch thief. This lonely boy has found someone
he can share his troubles with. Mr. Henshaw, whom the reader knows nothing about except what is written in Leigh’s letters,
suggests that Leigh keep a diary (in an attempt to keep from getting so many letters from Leigh?), so he does. Sometimes funny,
always poignant, this book is one librarians should share with as many children as possible. It won the 1984 Newbery Medal.
1983. Dear Mr. Henshaw. New York:
“Henry Huggins was in the
third grade” are the first words written by Beverly Cleary that were ever published. This book is a compilation of several
short stories about Henry Huggins, who was created from Beverly Cleary’s memories of several boys she had known. Each
chapter is a different adventure in his life beginning with finding Ribsy, who becomes his best friend. The chapter entitled,
“The Green Christmas,” is actually adapted from a short story she had written in grade school. “Finders
Keepers,” the final chapter, explains where Ribsy came from. When she first wrote it, she had him running away from
the circus. Beverly was unhappy with this idea as it wasn’t realistic, a
major premise in most of her works. It was rewritten several times until she decided that he simply had run away to find his
original owner who had gone off to summer camp.
----------. 1950. Henry Huggins. New York: William Morrow and Company, Inc.
Ramona and Her Father and Ramona Quimby, Age 8 were Newbery Honor books. Mrs. Cleary had introduced the character of Ramona as Beezus’ little sister
in Henry Huggins. Through the eight books about Ramona, Ramona grows up, and Mrs.
Cleary develops her character. The first book was Beezus and Ramona, in which Beezus
is 10 and Ramona is 4. Then there was a 13-year gap before her next book about Ramona, Ramona
the Pest. She had thought about writing about Ramona many times, but Ramona would be in kindergarten, and Mrs. Cleary
had never been to kindergarten and didn’t feel equipped to write about it. Then her twins were old enough to attend
kindergarten and talked about it every night at the dinner table. This is where Mrs. Cleary found her knowledge to write about
Beezus and Ramona. New York: William
Morrow and Company, Inc.
----------. 1977. Ramona and Her Father. New York: HarperCollins.
----------. 1981. Ramona Quimby, Age 8. New York: William Morrow and Company, Inc.
I chose to highlight this book because
it is Mrs. Cleary’s latest book. She was 83 years old when she wrote it, and it’s just as appealing to young girls
as any of the other timeless books she has written. Ramona is her same-old pesky self (who, of course, never tries to be a pest!), but now she has a baby sister and is in the 4th grade. The book ends on her tenth
birthday, which she calls “zeroteenth” and “a potential grown-up!”
----------. 1999. Ramona’s World. New York: Harper Trophy.
Teenage girls requested Mrs.
Cleary to write books about girls their age, so she did! These were written for girls about fifteen years old; but Mrs. Cleary
says the girls reading them today are younger. Nevertheless, the situations these girls find themselves in and the emotions
they feel are timeless. Many of the events are adapted from actual events that happened to Mrs. Cleary. Similarly, some of
the characters are inspired by friends and acquaintances she has had over the years. The cover of Fifteen, shown above, is one of a 1990 publication. The other three are also available with updated covers, but
I chose these because I like the 1950s feel of them – after all, they were written then about girls from that era!
----------. 1959. Jean and Johnny. New York: William Morrow and Company, Inc.
----------. 1956. Fifteen. New York: William Morrow and Company, Inc.
----------. 1958. The Luckiest Girl. New York: William Morrow and Company, Inc.
Sister of the Bride. New York: William
Morrow and Company, Inc.
I chose these two books as
examples of Beverly Cleary’s books for a slightly younger audience. These books are actually written on a third-grade
level; but they are meant to be read to much younger children. They are delightful picture books about twins, a girl and a
boy, and simple events in their lives. In Growing-Up Feet, their mother decides
their feet have grown enough to get new shoes. However, when they get to the shoestore the salesman tells them their feet
haven’t grown enough. Instead, they buy red rain boots that will fit over their current shoes as well as the next bigger
size (when their feet have grown!). They can’t wait to show Dad when he gets
home. They love their boots so much they want to sleep in them, but Mom says it’ll be too hot; so they slept with their
boots n their hands. The next day, Dad makes a big puddle for them to splash in.
In Two Dog Biscuits, the same twins, Jimmy and Janet, visit the neighbor who gives them each a dog biscuit. They
go around the neighborhood with their mother to find just the right dogs to give them to. They can’t find the “right”
dog, so they head home. When they spy a cat, they decide to give the bones to the cat. Mom says that cats don’t like
dog bones, but they give them to it anyway. The cat eats them both, and now the twins realize that they knew something their
mother didn’t know!
The Growing-Up Feet. New York: William
Morrow and Company, Inc.
----------. 1961. Two Dog Biscuits. New York: William Morrow and Company, Inc.