I think this second book in the Henry Reed series was my favorite when I first read them as a child. It was just as funny and entertaining as the first one, but with added travel descriptions to places I’d never been that sounded interesting.
Henry’s second summer in America begins in San Francisco this time. His diplomat father has been transferred to Manila in the Phillippines, and Henry flew from there. Fortunately, his friend from New Jersey, Midge Glass and her parents are in San Francisco for her father’s business convention. Mr. and Mrs. Glass fill the same roles in this book as Henry’s aunt and uncle did in the first one. Mr. Glass has been convinced by Henry’s Uncle Al that Midge and Henry are chaos agents: trouble and commotion erupts wherever they are, even if they seem to be innocent. He’s right, it’s true. Some of the adventures they get into are: capturing a lost parakeet, witnessing an explosion in their hotel, and falling off a cable car. That’s in San Francisco before the journey really starts. On the way to Yosemite, Midge and Henry trigger a gold rush. In Los Angeles, a monkey gets locked in their car. In Disneyland, Midge falls into the river in the jungle ride. In Arizona, Midge and Henry become honorary members of the Hopi tribe and are featured in a parade. In the Grand Canyon, Midge seems to have fallen off the trail, and Henry causes trouble with a horned toad. Well, you get the idea.
Henry’s obsession this trip is finding and buying fireworks. I understood that completely as a kid. The only place I was ever able to buy them was in Canada on summer vacations. Now, home fireworks annoy me, but then I’m old! As you can imagine, fireworks are found and create a spectacular finale to the book.
Highly recommended summer reading.
My review of Henry Reed, Inc., the first book.
Keith Robertson on Wikipedia