September Book Reviews, Part 1

Beverly Cleary and Ramona Quimby
From Miss Mary at Main

An Interview with Beverly Cleary

If you are looking for a series of books which has stood the test of time, look no further than Beverly Cleary’s books featuring Ramona Quimby and her family.  Beverly Cleary wrote the first of eight books in 1955 titled Beezus and Ramona.  In this book Ramona is a very spirited four-year old who often exasperates her older sister Beezus.  Life with Ramona isn’t always easy but it is never dull.  The series continues with Ramona the Pest c1968, featuring Ramona in kindergarten.  She loves kindergarten but discovers following the rules is not always going to be easy.

Ramona the Brave c1975 starts off with Ramona and her friend Howie playing Brick Factory in her backyard.  The game involves smashing bricks to smithereens.  What fun for a couple of soon-to-be first graders.  And first grade is about to begin!  Mom takes a part time job to help pay for a bedroom addition.  At last Ramona gets her very own bedroom, but as it turns out she is too afraid to sleep in it without her sister Beezus.

The next stop?  Ramona is in second grade in the books:  Ramona and Her Father c1977 and Ramona and Her Mother c1979.  Times turn tough when Ramona’s father loses his job and her mother takes on a full-time job.  My personal favorite book in the series is Ramona Quimby, Age 8. c1981.  A Newbery Honor Book in 1982, it is all about life in the third grade.  Ramona’s dad is in college studying to be an art teacher and Ramona spends her after-school hours at a baby-sitter next door, much to her dislike.  Third grade can be a challenge especially when Ramona cracks what she thinks is a hard-boiled egg on her head at lunch.  The problem is the egg was raw and the yolk and white end up all over her hair and running down her face.

Ramona Forever c1984  includes a wedding (her Aunt Beatrice’s) and a new addition to the Quimby family, a baby sister named Roberta.  The last and final book in the series is Ramona’s World  c1999.  Fourth grade has arrived and Ramona has a new best friend, Daisy.  Ramona hopes fourth grade will be “the best year of her life, so far.”

The eight books in the Ramona Quimby series all make wonderful read-alouds to elementary school-aged children .  They are filled with humor and love and emphasize solid family values.  Sometime Ramona fails, often with interesting results, but she learns to pick herself up, move on and maybe tomorrow will be a better day.  The Mansfield Richland County Public Library has all eight books in this popular series as well as the audio books on CD.  Be sure to check them out!

Great links to explore:

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