Rereading: HENRY REED’S BABY-SITTING SERVICE by Keith Robertson

The third book in the Henry Reed series, published in 1966 when I was fifteen, was the one that I found the funniest. The book continues directly after the second book, Henry Reed’s Journey, as Henry and the Glass family are just back from their cross-country trip. It’s July 11, so some of the summer has passed, and Henry and his friend and business partner Midge Glass are looking for a way to make some money. They take a survey, and the highest requests are for babysitters. Henry was hoping for something more exciting, but as he soon finds out, babysitting can be pretty exciting. For instance, their client Danny is a young daredevil who knows no fear, and keeping him from harm is a challenge. Young Belinda is even more difficult: she is an expert at hiding, making Henry and Midge frantic with worry, until they realize she always comes back, pretending she was never gone. Then there’s the family who live in a trailer and hire Henry to watch their son. Henry and the boy go for ice cream, and when they get back, the trailer has been stolen.

Henry and Midge’s nemeses, the Apples, are away, but renting their house next to Henry’s barn is another family with two annoying teenagers who own a small red sports car that seems to have it in for Henry and Midge. Every time one of the Sebastians and their car appear, trouble follows. There are plenty more amusing adventures in the babysitting business. I was also a teenage babysitter myself, so I understood Henry’s problems completely, and was rooting for him all the way. His and Midge’s eventual triumph over the Sebastians was even more satisfying.

Recommended, great summer reading. Reviews of the first two books:

Henry Reed, Inc.

Henry Reed’s Journey

Keith Robertson on Wikipedia

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