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Dear Mr. Henshaw – A Mini Unit

This is a mini unit based on Dear Mr. Henshaw by Beverly Cleary. The book itself has a fourth grade reading level, but these activities have been used with children in second grade up to sixth grade.

Book Summary:

A boy named Leigh Botts writes a series of letters to an author. He also writes in his diary. Through these writings, the boy shares his feelings about his life over several years' time.

Suggested Vocabulary:

canapé
cross-country
fictitious
gondola
halyard
mimeographed
molest
nuisance
partition
refinery
retain
rig


Suggested Questions and Activities:

1. In the beginning of the book, Leigh was signing his letters “Your number 1 fan.” But, by the time he answered Mr. Henshaw’s third question, Leigh was signing his letter, “Your ex-friend, Leigh Botts.” Why?

2. How would you describe how Leigh felt about his father?

3. Provide materials so that the child(ren) can create their own diaries or journals. Scheduled at least five minutes each day for them to write in their diaries/journals.

4. Leigh’s father was a truck driver. Brainstorm ideas of why truck drivers have important jobs.

5. Leigh’s mother was in catering. One of the foods his mother brought home were canapés. Find out what canapés are. Try making several different canapés using different recipes.

6. Leigh loved his doc Bandit very much, but at the end of the story he have the dog back to his dad. Do you agree with this decision? Why or why not?

7. Divorce is a touchy subject for some families. Depending on your own family situation or maturity of the child(ren) in question, discuss this topic and answer any questions as honestly as possible about what divorce is, why it sometimes occurs, and the pros and cons of divorce.

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