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Book Review

This humorous book is not in a series but is the third in a collection of four books that feature Henry Huggins as the main character. Written by Beverly Cleary, the Henry Huggins collection is published by HarperTrophy, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.

Henry and the Paper Route is written for kids ages 8 to 12. The age range reflects readability and not necessarily content appropriateness.

Positive Elements

Spiritual Content

Sexual Content

Violent Content

Crude or Profane Language

Drug and Alcohol Content

Other Negative Elements


Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

Henry Huggins is in fifth grade, and he longs to have a paper route like his friend Scooter. Even though Henry appeals to Mr. Capper, the newspaper's delivery supervisor, he's told that delivery boys must be 11 years old. One day at a yard sale, Henry spots a box of kittens and has an idea. He'll offer a free kitten to anyone who is willing to order a new subscription. Henry is convinced that Mr. Capper will recognize him as a good salesperson and then allow him to deliver papers. Unfortunately, no one wants a free kitten, and Henry is not able to sell any subscriptions. Mr. Capper tells Henry to come back when he's old enough for the job.

Burdened with the kittens, Henry takes them home. Although there are only four, the kittens seem to overrun the Huggins' household. Henry's dog, Ribsy, has a hard time adjusting to the new pets, but Mr. Huggins becomes fond of a black-and-white kitten named Nosy. Henry gives the rest of the kittens to Mr. Pennycuff, the pet storeowner, to sell.

Desperate for a paper route, Henry is thrilled when Scooter asks whether he will fold and deliver papers one day so Scooter can swim at the Y. Since there is a paper drive going on at school, Henry decides to include an advertisement for donated newspapers in the deliveries. The Huggins' phone starts ringing, and Henry knows he's hit the jackpot.

He borrows Ramona's wagon to pick up the neighbors' old newspapers, and Mr. Huggins volunteers to take several carloads of papers to the school in his station wagon. Thanks to their hard work, Henry's class wins the paper drive and is allowed to see a movie about bears during school hours. That evening, the Huggins family also goes to a movie to celebrate.

The day that Henry Huggins turns 11 is also a day to celebrate. Henry's mother has a birthday party for him, and the boys notice that a new family has moved to the neighborhood. Among the furniture being unloaded from the van is a boy's bicycle. Henry and his friends learn that a boy named Murph has moved into the house and will be in their grade at school. Murph likes electronics and is working on a homemade robot.

Henry is disappointed to learn that Murph has taken the paper route in their neighborhood. Several months later, Murph offers Henry his paper route, and Henry is happy to take it. When pesky Ramona Quimby begins tampering with his deliveries, Henry understands why Murph wanted to give up the route. Thinking fast, Henry concocts a fancy mechanical robot head for Ramona to wear that will distract her from disrupting his paper route, and everyone is happy.

Christian Beliefs


Other Belief Systems


Authority Roles

Mr. and Mrs. Huggins are the authority figures in the home. After first telling Henry that he must give away the four kittens he brings home, Henry's parents allow him to keep one, showing that they respect his love of animals. They show support for him by offering to help Henry collect papers for the school paper drive. When his classroom wins, Henry thanks his parents for helping him. Mr. Capper, the supervisor of Henry's paper route, gains Henry's respect when he describes the responsibilities of a paperboy and tells Henry to come back when he's a year older. Henry works hard to prove himself to Mr. Capper and is proud when he finally is given a route of his own.





Discussion Topics

If your children have read this book or someone has read it to them, consider these discussion topics:

  • How does Henry know that a boy his age has moved into the neighborhood?
  • Have you ever moved to a new neighborhood or had someone move into yours?
  • How did you become acquainted with the new neighbors?
  • How did Henry meet Murph?

  • Why does Henry offer a free kitten to anyone who signs up for a newspaper subscription?

  • Have you ever tried to sell something to your friends (e.g., candy, gift wrap or something else)?
  • Did you like being a sales person? Explain.
  • Did Henry's gimmick work? What should he have done?

  • Why does Henry put an advertisement in the newspapers for people to donate old magazines to his school?

  • Does your family recycle old magazines and newspapers? Describe how you do this.

Additional Comments/Notes

This review is brought to you by Focus on the Family, a donor-based ministry. Book reviews cover the content, themes and world-views of fiction books, not their literary merit, and equip parents to decide whether a book is appropriate for their children. A book's inclusion does not constitute an endorsement by Focus on the Family.

You can request a review of a title you can't find at reviewrequests@family.org.

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