Sunday, April 29, 2012

Chapter Books A to Z: R is for Ramona

Ramona is my favorite naughty girl in children's literature. She doesn't mean to be naughty. It just happens to her. She is no different than any other curious child. Author Beverly Cleary had her down pat as she penned the series over the decades.

My favorite book about Ramona was always Beezus and Ramona. It's the one where Ramona is truly at her worst. She rides her tricycle into the table when Beezus and Henry are trying to play checkers, simply because she wants attention. She crashes Beezus' painting class. She has an impromptu party without notifying her mother. And she sneaks down into the basement to take one bite out of each apple being stored down there. After all, the first bite is the best!

I just read this to my extended day students. They loved it. When we went to the school library, they were excited to find another copy of it that had a different cover and checked it out. I am sure they would love to hear some more Ramona stories, but we're working on introducing a few other series before the end of the year.

I had all of the Ramona books when I was a child. When I became a teacher, I also collected the books about Henry and Ribsy, though she plays a small role, if any. My other favorite was Ramona Quimby, Age 8. I think it was partially because I was about 8 when I read it for the first time. I loved the D.E.A.R. segment. And I could commiserate with her frustration in making the big floppy 2 that was supposed to be a capital cursive Q.

I related to Ramona and Her Father, which was a Newbery Honor book. My father and I were extremely close, also. In part of the storyline, Ramona tries to help her father quit smoking. My father smoked for years, resulting in numerous health complications that lead to his passing away last year.

I grew up with Ramona. Her last book, Ramona's World, came out in 1999, when I was well into adulthood. She is a part of me.

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