Beverly Clearly rivals Roald Dahl as one of the most popular young adult authors of all time. Her novels stand the test of time and are still widely read across the world. Not only will they stand the test of time, but they are still incredibly popular.
She also wrote a series of books based on the popular TV show, Leave It to Beaver.
Clearly passed away on March 25 at the young age of 104. Of course, her obituary covers her most popular works, but she had a lot more publications. This, of course, includes works for the late 1950s show, Leave It to Beaver.
Early in the 1960s, Cleary began her quest to write three books based on the TV sitcom. She wrote Leave It To Beaver, Beaver and Wally, and Here’s Beaver! All three books came out between 1960 and 1961. Notably, this was just ten years after she had written her first book, Henry Huggins.
It certainly suits the show to have Cleary write the books. Even though the show had 234 episodes made, there were only three seasons to date when she wrote the first Leave It to Beaver book. Her writing brings to light another aspect of the show.
Each of the books was compilations of short stories, rather than a novel, just like the show. Undoubtedly, the books brought color into the black and white world that was Leave It to Beaver.
Beverly Cleary’s “Leave It to Beaver” Books Brought to Live Another Side of the TV Show – Color
One of the chapters of the Leave It to Beaver books was entitled “The School Sweater.” In it, she narrates as if the show was truly in color. “Wally was pretty pleased to own that blue sweater with the yellow M and the yellow stripe around the sleeve.”
This scene is taken directly from one of the episodes. Specifically, it comes from Season 3, Episode 23. Many of her other stories were taken almost directly from the show. And again, each of her descriptions of Leave It to Beaver brought forth another dimension. Not only did it colorize the show, but it delved deeper into their lives.
Even though the books had success, she reportedly did not love writing the books. Because the ideas were not of her creation, it lacked inspiration and creativity for Cleary. In an article about the Leave It to Beaver books with The Los Angeles Times, she explains her reasoning.
“One morning, the telephone rang, and it was this man in New York saying would I consider turning Leave It to Beaver scripts into fiction. In my exhaustion [I said], ‘Well yes, I’ll consider it.’ And he said, ‘Good, I’ll fly out and see you.’ That rather stunned me. But I met him.”
Cleary goes on to add that the work was drab for her but that it was a paycheck. She was not enjoying the Leave It to Beaver work, rather just getting through it.
“It was boring work. They wanted a certain number of words, and I’m not used to writing prose by the yard… I cut out dear old Dad’s philosophizing.”
However, Cleary was pleased with the outcome. She knew that the three Leave It to Beaver books she finished were better than the show’s reboot movie in 1997.