It is a rare author who can write books that can stand the test of time like those of Beverly Cleary. If your children haven't met Ramona Quimby and her neighbors on Klickitat Street, it's time for you to introduce them. There are a lot of entertaining books in the series, which will provide great fun as read-alouds for younger children or "read alones" for independent readers. The most recent Ramona book, Ramona's World came out in 1999. HarperCollins published a paperback version in 2001.
Ramona Quimby, Fourth Grader
With a fifteen year break between Ramona's World
and the previous Ramona book, I was a little apprehensive about a lack of continuity. I needn't have worried. In this book as in her others, Beverly Cleary
is right on target as she addresses, in typical humorous fashion, the vicissitudes in the life of Ramona Quimby, now a fourth grader.
Part of the charm of Cleary's writing is her ability to imbue ordinary events with the drama and importance an actual fourth grader would feel they deserve. Ramona has a lot of challenges this year, including a new baby sister, a new teacher, an older sister who is now a teenager, a new best friend, and her first crush. She agonizes that her teacher doesn't like her and worries that she will never learn to spell properly.
Good and Bad Times
Even the good things, like her new best friend Daisy, are fraught with peril. When playing dress-up as the princess (Ramona) and the witch (Daisy) in the attic of Daisy's house, the two friends get in a tussle. This results in Ramona's inadvertently stepping on the unfinished part of the attic floor and falling part way through the ceiling of the dining room. However, all's well that ends well. Ramona is happy because Daisy is still her friend and her own family pays a lot of attention to her as she shares the story of the accident with them.
Each Chapter A Story in Itself
While there are story threads that continue throughout "Ramona's World," the book is episodic in structure. Clever pen and ink sketches by Alan Tiegreen illustrate each chapter. Each chapter is a story in itself. This makes the book particularly valuable for children who are making the transition from picture books to chapter books and those who prefer reading books a chapter at a time.
Are Beverly Cleary Books Favorites in Your Family ?
Did you read Beverly Cleary books when you were growing up? Do your children read them? Have your kids read Dear Mr. Henshaw
, for which Beverly Cleary won a John Newbery Medal?