Henry and the Clubhouse is my favorite Henry Huggins book yet. Of course, Henry overlaps with the Ramona series. She’s his pesky little neighbor. And in this book, the two of them certainly clash!
Henry obtained a paper route in the last book. In this installment, his after-school job is funding his building project–a clubhouse that he and his two best friends are building in his backyard. Male friends, because of the “no girls allowed” rule. Yet, Henry feels badly for Beezus, who isn’t so bad as girls go, and whose feelings have been hurt. Enter Ramona who locks Henry in his own clubhouse and won’t let him out until he teaches her the secret boys-only password! And she causes no end of trouble on his paper route. Even Henry’s best ideas to get rid of her backfire. But if it weren’t for Ramona, Henry wouldn’t have gotten his name in the paper…
I love the innocence of Cleary’s books. They’re perfect read-alouds for six- to nine-year olds. The simple thrills of childhood, like building a clubhouse and sleeping in it in your very own sleeping bag, are just as fun for young kids now as they were in the last century. And the books are full of positive messages. Consider this clip from the final chapter:
“‘Henry, I’m proud of you!” said Mr. Huggins. “I don’t care how much snow there is. I’m going right out and buy half a dozen papers so we can send copies of this (article) to your relatives.’
‘Gee, thanks, Dad,” said Henry modestly. He had waited a long time to hear his father say he was proud of him.
‘I’ll admit that when you took on the route and then got mixed up in building a clubhouse, I didn’t think you could handle it, but you’ve done a good job,’ said Mr. Huggins.
Henry was pleased and at the same time a little embarrassed by this praise from his father.”
There you have it. Responsibility, pride in one’s work, friends, family and a kid-pleasing story. Is there any wonder why I love these books?