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Saturday, September 8, 2012

Explaining a Few Things

Awww. Each class of second graders has moaned each time I stop reading from Beverly Cleary's Henry Huggins. Their gasps and giggles resound as they contemplate a boy not much older than them whose determination to have a dog drives him to figure out how to get that dog home. Carrying Ribsy onto the bus did not work. The hair tonic box did not work. A 5-cent paper bag, some paper and string seems to work - but that is where I stopped reading.

Along the way, I have needed to stop and explain a few things. Published in 1950, the story is still humorous and engaging, and the children clearly relate to Henry. Yet they wonder. How could he ride the city bus downtown to swim at the Y.M.C.A. and then ride it home again - by himself? How could he buy an ice cream cone for only 5 cents? How could he get on the bus for a dime? What is a telephone booth?

They listen intently as I explain each thing, eager to build on that knowledge as Henry and Ribsy's story continues.


  1. Lucky, lucky students, to have you guiding them.

  2. I wish I had a kid in one of your classes.

  3. I wish I was in one of your classes.

    What a testament to the strength of these stories that they are still holding kids' attentions today. I read Henry Huggins as a kid when the book was about 20 years old, my fourth grade students enjoyed Henry when the book was in its thirties, and now that it's almost 65 years old, good old Henry and Ribsy show no sign of retiring.

  4. Okay, you stumped me. What IS that photograph? At first I thought it might be the coin slot on a city bus, but I don't think so.

    Please let us puzzled readers know.

  5. I love your view of Henry Huggins through the years, David. I hate to tell you, but I cannot recall exactly what I photographed! It was at the Pirates exhibit at the SMM, and I think those things had something to do with measuring/weighing.

  6. "What is a telephone booth?" We sometimes forget what students today do not know!