Which favorite literary character would I dress as for Halloween? This was a tougher question than I anticipated. I spent about half an hour this morning standing in front of my bookcase perusing titles and pondering possibilities before I finally decided upon a character I have loved since first reading about his adventures while I was in elementary school. His name? Henry Reed.
Henry starred in five books, each of which concerned his (mis)adventures while spending summer vacations with his aunt and uncle in Grover’s Corner, New Jersey. Along with his friend Margaret “Midge” Glass (the only kid his age who lives in the neighborhood), Henry finds himself involved in many humorous incidents, most of which result from complications arising from his efforts to earn money via various business enterprises. Whether it’s working as researchers, babysitters, or theatrical managers, Henry and Midge continually find themselves in situations that spiral out of control. All the while, Henry narrates his adventures in a plain-spoken and understated manner that adds to the humor of the books.
I reread all five of Henry’s adventures this summer. Doing so reminded me why I loved them so much as a kid. Much like Beverly Cleary’s Henry Huggins, Henry Reed is just an “average” kid that finds himself embroiled in hilarious adventures. No magic, no special powers, just a curious and creative kid getting into and out of trouble.
I know this much: If I could dress as Henry Reed for Halloween, I’m not sure what would happen but I am sure it would involve an unexpected adventure. And it would be funny to boot!