Henry Reed is the thirteen-year-old main character in a number of humourous children's books by Keith Robertson. The best comparison I can come up with is with Alvin Fernald by Clifford B. Hicks, and maybe Homer Price by Robert McClosky (though I barely remember those, so maybe not).

Henry's father is a diplomat, and so Henry has lived in a large number of places around the world. Just not in the United States of America, his home country. His parents decide to let him stay in Grover's Corner, New Jersey with his Uncle Al and Aunt Mabel for the summer. Normally, Grover's Corner is a quiet place, but where Henry goes, things just happen, and the result is a number of hilarious journals1 he keeps to use for his school What I did over the Summer report that most of us are familiar with.

Henry wants to be a naturalist when he grows up, and loves animals. On his way to from the airport to his summer residence, he acquires a lost beagle, whom he names Agony (due to the mournful howling if he's not allowed to sleep in the house), and his animal collection grows as the summer progresses.

In the first book, Henry Reed Inc., Henry opens a 'research' company named 'Henry Reed Inc.' in his mother's old barn, and acquires turtles, rabbits, and a partner, Margeret "Midge" Glass.

Much of Henry's first summer at Grover's Corner is spent chasing one of Midge's rabbits, being repeatedly thwarted, often by the mean neighbors, Mr. and Mrs. Apple.

In the second book, Henry Reed's Journey, Henry joins up with Midge and her family in San Francisco, and rides back to New Jersey with them, making stops at Disneyland, Yosemite National Park, the Grand Canyon, and many other places, and he and Midge have great fun becoming native Americans, starting a gold rush, setting off firecrackers in the least appropriate places, winning honourable mentions in art shows, and discussing toothpicks.

The third book, Henry Reed's Big Show, tells of the second half of the summer that began in the previous book. Sadly, it's also the book I don't own a copy of, though I found it in the library years ago. In short, Henry Reed puts on a big show (a rodeo?), with a travelling band, and more.

In the forth book, Henry Reed's Babysitting Service, Henry decides babysitting is the best way to earn a little money, even though 'it's a girl's job'. As we all know, babysitting is hard work, especially when the kid is an expert in vanishing, when the 'house' (a house trailer) is stolen while the two of you were out getting lunch, or peacocks scream bloody murder at 4AM near where you and the child are camping out. But Henry's clever and resourceful, so he pulls it off.

In the fifth book, Henry Reed's Think Tank, Henry and Midge start a think tank, and solve problems such as mothers feeding their unfortunate kids nothing but health food, fathers who give a mere 35 cents per week allowance, and geese who mess up lawns.


1 According to Henry, 'Diaries are kept by girls to tell all about their dates and what they think of their different boyfriends'. After all, he reasons, you never read diaries by pirates, explorers, or sea captains. You read journals.

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