Reading List: “Henry Reed, Inc.” by Keith Robertson
Henry Reed is spending the summer in tiny Grover’s Corner, New Jersey, with his Aunt Mabel and Uncle Al. During the year, Henry lives in Naples, Italy with his parents (his father is an American diplomat). He attends an American school with other American kids whose parents also live and work in Naples. His summer assignment from school is to keep a journal about his experiences in the U.S., emphasizing how American children spend money and showing “free enterprise” in action. Henry Reed, Inc. is actually Henry’s summer journal.
Grover’s Corner is typical of America in the 1950s: the “happy family” with one car, dad in suit and tie and hat, mom in a housedress, and kids with horn-rimmed glasses—and, of course, many white picket fences! There is no crime in Grover’s Corner, but at least after Henry arrives there is some excitement. The fun begins when Henry persuades his aunt and uncle, as they drive him to Grover’s Corner on the first day of his visit, to pick up a stray dog they find on the road. The fun continues when Henry meets his neighbor Margaret (aka Midge) and together they join forces in some pretty funny schemes, all part of HENRY REED, INC., Pure and Applied Research. They earn forty dollars each, so Henry returns to school in Naples with proof in his pocket that free enterprise works.
This book is a “fast read” and will give the reader a 1950s slice of life in the “good old U.S. of A.”