Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Children's Classics ::: Henry Reed's Journey

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My name is Henry Harris Reed and this is my journal.

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Thus starts Henry Reed's Journey ... one of my favorite books from my childhood. Henry Reed is a boy of 13. His parents are in the diplomatic service overseas and as a teen, Henry comes to the United States to spend the summers with his Uncle Al and Aunt Mable in a sleepy little subdivision in New Jersey. Well, it is sleepy until Henry gets there. Henry and his friend Midge Glass manage to keep themselves busy with all sorts of ideas and somehow manage to find themselves in one adventure (or predicament) after another.

How does this fit with the Children's Classic theme of book trips? Henry Reed's Journey is the 2nd book in the Henry series. In this book, Henry flies into San Francisco and travels across the US - from California to New Jersey - with his friend Midge and her parents in a station wagon. They see some of the sights of the country and, as per usual, manage to get into a scrape or two along the way.

This story reminds me of the road trips that I took as a child with my family ... and I probably read this book on one of them! This book was written in 1963 so you will find the book and some of the story dated. For me, that makes it charming! They visit the Grand Canyon, Yosemite National Park, drive through Kansas and hit several more states before making it home to New Jersey. You will see Henry and Midge given more freedom in the book than kids today would be allowed. For example, at the beginning of the book, Henry (age 14 now) and Midge (age 13) are allowed to take a cablecar in San Francisco down to Fisherman's Wharf and look around. Of course, they stumble into an adventure involving a fall from the cable car, a parrot and a packet of hot pepper seeds. :)

Crypic? I hope so. :) I want you to check out this book for yourself! This is one of those series that I think is easily overlooked by today's kids because of the dated look to it ... the illustrations in the book are done by none other than Robert McCloskley (of Make Way for Ducklings and Blueberries for Sal fame!) This book is a little hard to find (some of the books in the series are still in print) but if you manage to find a copy, it is definitely worth picking up!

For more travel stories and Children's Classics head over to Five Minutes for Books.

Past Children's Classics posts:
A.A. Milne
Beatrix Potter (specifically, the Tale of Jemima Puddleduck)
Make Way for Ducklings
The Little House
Ella the Elephant & The Boy Who Was Raised by Librarians (Future Children's Classics)

6 comments:

  1. Hmmmm...I've seen these books around, but I've never read one. Now my interest in definitely piqued . . . mission accomplished, Stephanie! :-)

    Have a great day!

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  2. Oh, I hope you get those fantastic trips with your kids someday! And, I have to say that the first thing I thought of in response to the characters having such freedom-- Henry and Midge were Free-Range Kids! :)

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  3. Thanks for the tip! I, too, have seen them around but not knowing anything about them have never bothered to pick them up! Now I definitely will!

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  4. ooooooooooooo BIG FAT STAR! this is going to be PERFECT for our America studies this year!

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  5. I haven't read these, but they sound like something my Favorite Boy would like. Thanks!

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  6. Sounds like a really fun book!

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Thanks for commenting!