I Hope You Got to Watch 17 Cartoons for Your Birthday Today, Beverly Cleary

House by Glenwood/Fernwood (Henrik's Photo)

That’s what Henry Huggins got to do for his 11th birthday.  Today is Beverly Cleary’s 95th birthday.  Henrik celebrated this morning by turning on Ramona and Her Father on the CD player before preschool.  We all celebrated on Sunday with Laura Foster’s Walking With Ramona tour of the Beverly Cleary’s childhood hangouts in the Hollywood District.  Henrik and I went on the walk last year, which was on a weekday morning and Rob was able to join us this year.  This year’s walk was a little longer and included more interesting details about Beverly Cleary’s life.

We visited the original and current locations of the Hollywood Library, the Hollywood Theater, Glenwood/Fernwood Elementary and two of Beverly Cleary’s houses in the area of her fictional neighborhood.  Henrik was quite engaged and shared many details that only a 5 year old, who has memorized every story, could offer.  You can feed him a sentence from almost anywhere in any of the Henry, Ramona or Ralph books and he can continue quoting from there.  Henrik even got to talk about his tin can stilts on the walk on Sunday.

I was amazed this year at how many historic details about Portland I had learned on Laura’s walk last year.  She offers a wealth of historic knowledge about Beverly Cleary and about Portland.  I highly recommend her books and her walks.  Her upcoming walk schedule can be found here.  Thank you, Laura for offering such a fun way to learn about history.

I also can’t say enough about Beverly Cleary’s books.  I am really looking forward to Henrik having the opportunity to revisit the stories again soon when he learns to read.  He has heard me read the stories, he has heard them performed by Neil Patrick Harris, Stockard Channing and B.D. Wong and soon he will be reading them himself.  It might be difficult to determine whether Henrik is actually reading the stories or reciting from memory….

Either way, Beverly Cleary has helped instill a love of reading in Henrik.   I know that encouraging boys to read was one of her primary goals when she became a writer.  She has definitely succeeded in our family.  Thank you again, Beverly Cleary.

2 thoughts on “I Hope You Got to Watch 17 Cartoons for Your Birthday Today, Beverly Cleary

  1. Henrik made my day! He’s a joy to be around, and I am still chuckling at his correction of my description of the color of Beverly’s house–not “brownish red” as I said, but “barn red, or even maroon.” BTW–that house was her 3rd in Portland, after Halsey and after 77th. Does Henrik like William Steigman’s books? My kids loved them, books like the Amazing Bone and the one where a boy turns into a rock.

    • Laura,

      Thank you for the kind words about Henrik! Henrik always has something to say, especially about Beverly Cleary’s characters. We have had quite a few talks about fiction and nonfiction and whether Ramona and Henry really lived in that neighborhood. This morning, while listening to Ramona and Her Father on CD again, Henrik asked, “What does ‘honored’ mean?” Ramona’s father said that he was honored to be asked to remove the crown of burdock thorns from Ramona’s head. Not only is Henrik entertained by Beverly Cearly’s stories, he is constantly learning from them. Even though the books are fictional, they tell a realistic story of an era that seems ages ago today. In fact, I am actually amazed at how much of the “fiction” in Beverly Cleary’s stories wasn’t fiction at all.

      You inspired me on last year’s walk to read A Girl From Yamhill. It has taken me a year, but I just got it from the library early this week. It is surprising how many of the fictional stories from the Ramona, Henry, Ellen and Emily books were actually factual events in Beverly Cleary’s childhood. A Girl from Yamhill has kept me up late for the last two nights and I am sure it will again until I finish it. Thank you for the inspiration. I did request Finn Family Moomintroll per your suggestion and I will also look into William Steig’s books too. We are reading The Moffats right now and that has been a huge hit. We are almost done and I was concerned about which book to pick next. Now I have quite a few books to look forward to. I hope Henrik loves to read as an adult as much as I do!

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I Hope You Got to Watch 17 Cartoons for Your Birthday Today, Beverly Cleary

House by Glenwood/Fernwood (Henrik's Photo)

That’s what Henry Huggins got to do for his 11th birthday.  Today is Beverly Cleary’s 95th birthday.  Henrik celebrated this morning by turning on Ramona and Her Father on the CD player before preschool.  We all celebrated on Sunday with Laura Foster’s Walking With Ramona tour of the Beverly Cleary’s childhood hangouts in the Hollywood District.  Henrik and I went on the walk last year, which was on a weekday morning and Rob was able to join us this year.  This year’s walk was a little longer and included more interesting details about Beverly Cleary’s life.

We visited the original and current locations of the Hollywood Library, the Hollywood Theater, Glenwood/Fernwood Elementary and two of Beverly Cleary’s houses in the area of her fictional neighborhood.  Henrik was quite engaged and shared many details that only a 5 year old, who has memorized every story, could offer.  You can feed him a sentence from almost anywhere in any of the Henry, Ramona or Ralph books and he can continue quoting from there.  Henrik even got to talk about his tin can stilts on the walk on Sunday.

I was amazed this year at how many historic details about Portland I had learned on Laura’s walk last year.  She offers a wealth of historic knowledge about Beverly Cleary and about Portland.  I highly recommend her books and her walks.  Her upcoming walk schedule can be found here.  Thank you, Laura for offering such a fun way to learn about history.

I also can’t say enough about Beverly Cleary’s books.  I am really looking forward to Henrik having the opportunity to revisit the stories again soon when he learns to read.  He has heard me read the stories, he has heard them performed by Neil Patrick Harris, Stockard Channing and B.D. Wong and soon he will be reading them himself.  It might be difficult to determine whether Henrik is actually reading the stories or reciting from memory….

Either way, Beverly Cleary has helped instill a love of reading in Henrik.   I know that encouraging boys to read was one of her primary goals when she became a writer.  She has definitely succeeded in our family.  Thank you again, Beverly Cleary.

2 thoughts on “I Hope You Got to Watch 17 Cartoons for Your Birthday Today, Beverly Cleary

  1. Henrik made my day! He’s a joy to be around, and I am still chuckling at his correction of my description of the color of Beverly’s house–not “brownish red” as I said, but “barn red, or even maroon.” BTW–that house was her 3rd in Portland, after Halsey and after 77th. Does Henrik like William Steigman’s books? My kids loved them, books like the Amazing Bone and the one where a boy turns into a rock.

    • Laura,

      Thank you for the kind words about Henrik! Henrik always has something to say, especially about Beverly Cleary’s characters. We have had quite a few talks about fiction and nonfiction and whether Ramona and Henry really lived in that neighborhood. This morning, while listening to Ramona and Her Father on CD again, Henrik asked, “What does ‘honored’ mean?” Ramona’s father said that he was honored to be asked to remove the crown of burdock thorns from Ramona’s head. Not only is Henrik entertained by Beverly Cearly’s stories, he is constantly learning from them. Even though the books are fictional, they tell a realistic story of an era that seems ages ago today. In fact, I am actually amazed at how much of the “fiction” in Beverly Cleary’s stories wasn’t fiction at all.

      You inspired me on last year’s walk to read A Girl From Yamhill. It has taken me a year, but I just got it from the library early this week. It is surprising how many of the fictional stories from the Ramona, Henry, Ellen and Emily books were actually factual events in Beverly Cleary’s childhood. A Girl from Yamhill has kept me up late for the last two nights and I am sure it will again until I finish it. Thank you for the inspiration. I did request Finn Family Moomintroll per your suggestion and I will also look into William Steig’s books too. We are reading The Moffats right now and that has been a huge hit. We are almost done and I was concerned about which book to pick next. Now I have quite a few books to look forward to. I hope Henrik loves to read as an adult as much as I do!

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