Henry and Mudge Series

Book review by
Carrie Kingsley, Common Sense Media
Henry and Mudge Series Book Poster Image
Simple, sweet stories about a boy and his beloved dog.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

The two most important educational pieces in these books for early readers are language -- word repetition and simple sentence structure -- and how each page's illustrations match the gentle kindness and happiness of a story about a boy and his beloved dog.

Positive Messages

You can overcome your fears. Give people second chances, You can have fun just by being together. Be kind to others.

Positive Role Models & Representations

This series models kind behavior.  Henry is kind to Mudge, and all the adults in Henry's world are kind. The focus is on simple good times.

Violence & Scariness
Language

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Cynthia Rylant's Henry and Mudge series is about as gentle as you can get for early readers of chapter books. There are no disagreements, no issues, just a boy and his dog living in a gentle world where families and friends don't fight and everything works out because he always has his best friend, Mudge, by his side. The illustrations beautifully capture the kind, happy mood of the books, and the sentence structure and word choices are simple -- each page is more of an illustration with words than the other way around. 

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What's the story?

In the HENRY AND MUDGE series, Henry is a young boy whose best friend is his big, gentle 180-pound dog, Mudge. They go on adventures together -- to the beach, in the snow, on a sleepover -- with Henry's family and friends. If they encounter any problems, they always face them together. Sometimes Mudge saves the day, like when a beach toy almost floats away, and other times Henry saves Mudge, like when spooky ghost stories scare Mudge and make his teeth chatter. They learn about being best friends and how to include other people in their adventures. This is truly a kind and gentle series of books. 

Is it any good?

This series is surely one of the most gentle around for young readers, and it will keep the attention of anyone who loves dogs. Henry and Mudge is about being good friends, and the books keep it as simple as that. Each story is different, but the simple sentence structure, the vocabulary, and the word repetition are nicely consistent for new readers. The expressive illustrations tie it all together and take over the pages.

Parents won't be too bored reading these books aloud, and kids will like that there is zero stress in any of Henry's situations.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about what it would be like to have a pet-owner relationship like Henry and Mudge. Do you have a pet like Mudge? Do you know anyone who does? 

  • In one story, Mudge can't climb up to Henry's tree house. Where are good places to bring a dog like Mudge?

  • What other books can you think of with dogs as kind as Mudge?

Book details

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