Dear Mr. Henshaw

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Dear Mr. Henshaw,

I wish somebody would stop stealing the good stuff out of my lunchbag. I guess I wish a lot of other things, too. I wish someday Dad and Bandit would pull up in front in the rig ... Dad would yell out of the cab, "Come on, Leigh. Hop in and I'll give you a lift to school."

Leigh Botts has been author Boyd Henshaw's number one fan ever since he was in second grade. Now in sixth grade, Leigh lives with his mother and is the new kid at school. He's lonely, troubled by the absence of his father, a cross-country trucker, and angry because a mysterious thief steals from his lunchbag. Then Leigh's teacher assigns a letter-writing project. Naturally Leigh chooses to write to Mr. Henshaw, whose surprising answer changes Leigh's life.

Curriculet Details
31 Questions
24 Annotations
3 Quizzes

Designed for students in 5th grade, this digital curriculum contains annotations explaining epistolary writing, point of view and prose versus poetry. It also contains interactive videos that support comprehension, such as videos about imagery and character development. Over the course of the book, students will answer Common Core questions and quizzes related to the subjects of divorce, loneliness, and self-worth. This online unit will increase student engagement while building reading comprehension.

The curriculet is being added to your library

May 12

Notice that Dear Mr. Henshaw begins in a unique way. Unlike many other books you read, this story is structured differently. Determine how the structure of this story helps you learn about the characters and their points of view. (This annotation contains a video)
What do the misspellings in the first letter to Mr. Henshaw probably mean? 
A mobile home park is usually a cost efficient way of living. Several mobile homes stay in the park. Mobile homes do not take up a lot of space and can be moved from park to park. (This annotation contains an image)
What literary form is the author using to help us learn about Leigh Botts? 
Beverly Cleary, who wrote Dear Mr. Henshaw, has written many other books for children. She has a website where you can learn all about her life as an author. Find Beverly Cleary's list of books at this site.  (This annotation contains a link)
Leigh stated that Mr. Henshaw gave silly answers to his questions. What to Mr. Henshaw's questions reveal about his character? 
Why does Leigh sign this letter with the closing "Disgusted reader"? 
Using letters as a literary form is called epistolary writing . Epistolary writing uses forms like letters, diary and journal entries, and other types of documents to tell a story and deliver a message. Follow the link below to watch the video and learn more about epistolary writing.  (This annotation contains a link)
What details support Leigh's answer that he's "the mediumest boy in class"? 
A cab-over truck is an older style of tractor semi trailer as seen in this video. (This annotation contains a video)
Why doesn't Leigh's dad live with Leigh and Leigh's mom? 
Pacific Grove, California is on the southern edge of Monterey Bay. Leigh lives close enough to the ocean to hear sea lions. Look for details that show that Leigh and his mom do not live right on the ocean. (This annotation has embedded rich content)
What details indicate that Leigh and his mom do not have a lot of money? 
By using letter writing, Beverly Cleary is using an interesting technique to learn about the characters and events in Dear Mr. Henshaw. We learn about Leigh through his point of view. Learn more about point of view by watching this video.  (This annotation contains a video)
What is one aspect of school that is not difficult for Leigh? 
How is the reader learning about the character Mr. Henshaw? 
The California state flag was designed by William Todd, Abraham Lincoln's nephew, in 1846. (This annotation contains an image)
Why does Leigh sign the letter "grateful friend"? 
How is a journal entry different from a personal letter? 
Based on Leigh's diary, how long have his mom and dad been divorced? 
Dear Mr. Henshaw, Quiz 1 
Paul O. Zelinky illustrated Dear Mr. Henshaw with a series of line drawings. In an interview he shares his inspiration for illustrating. Compare Paul O. Zelinsky with Leigh Botts. How are they similar? Do you think that Mr. Zelinsky would relate to Leigh?  (This annotation contains a link)
Pseud. is short for pseudonym which means a fake name. 
What is one nice thing that Leigh's mom says about his dad? 
In this story, we are learning about how characters change through their thoughts and actions. View this video about character development. Which characters are growing and changing in Dear Mr. Henshaw? (This annotation contains a video)
In this dialogue between Leigh and his mom, what do the words in parentheses mean? 

January 12

What does Leigh's question about the fathers of bears indicate? 
Farmers grow a lot of grain in Kansas and they store their grain in silos. The elevator brings the grain from the lower level and deposits it into a silo.  (This annotation contains an image)
Why does Leigh begin his journal entries with "Dear Mr. Pretend Henshaw"? 
Nearly half of all marriages in the United States end in divorce. Divorce is hurtful to both parents and children. How have you seen Leigh hurt by his parents' divorce? 
Who does Leigh blame for his parents' divorce. 
Many over the road drivers use Citizens Band (CB) radios to keep contact with other truckers to learn about weather and road conditions.  (This annotation contains a video)
Why does Leigh hate his dad? 
Leigh's mom uses a figure of speech called a simile to compare Leigh's father to a knight in shining armor. What does that say about Leigh's dad? Watch the video to learn more about similes and metaphors. (This annotation contains a video)
Why did Leigh's parents get divorced? 
The waves make Leigh and his mom feel better. What is it about the waves that makes them feel like life will still go on? (This annotation contains a video)
What advice does Mr. Fridley give Leigh? 
The monarch migration brings thousands of butterflies to Pacific Grove , California. This video is probably similar to what Leigh witnessed. Why might this make him feel better?  (This annotation contains a video)
Why does Leigh's dad send him $20? 
Dear Mr. Henshaw, Quiz 2 

February 15

Why is Leigh having trouble with his story for the Young Writers' Yearbook? 
Leigh learned how batteries work in order to work on an alarm for his lunchbox. Learn about batteries by watching this video. (This annotation contains a video)
How did the man at the hardware store deduce that Leigh was having trouble with his lunch? 
What was Leigh's problem at lunchtime? 
Who admired Leigh's lunch box alarm? 
The Hills are Alive is a song from The Sound of Music. Watch the video below and think about why Leigh chose to compare this song to the sound of his lunch alarm.  (This annotation contains a video)
Why is it difficult for Leigh to talk to his Dad? 
Prose and poetry are two genres of literature. Watch the video illustrate the difference. Why might Leigh choose to write prose rather than poetry?  (This annotation contains a video)
Great writers use imagery to paint a picture in the minds of their readers. Notice the types of imagery that Leigh used in the story about driving with his dad. (This annotation contains a video)
Why did Barry come over to Leigh's house? 
Copying the writing of another author without giving them credit is called plagiarism.  
What literary device did Leigh use to make Mrs. Badger feel what it was like to ride down a steep grade with tons of grapes behind her? 

March 31

Keeping a journal not only helped Leigh become a better writer, it also helped him work though some of the problems he was having. Read about five reasons you should start a journal. (This annotation contains a link)
Why did Leigh begin to run? 
Why do you think Leigh's Dad wasn't as tall as he remembered him? 
A reefer is a refrigerated truck used to carry foods that could spoil on long trips. 
Leigh's last letter to Mr. Henshaw was on March 31st. Do you think Leigh will write to him again? Why or why not? 
Dear Mr. Henshaw, Quiz 3