Friday, February 18, 2011

Ramona the Pest

Ramona the Pest - Beverly Cleary
Dell Publishing Co. - 1968

Reading Level: 8+  Number of Pages: 192 Genre: Fiction
Georgia Children’s Book Award 
Nene Award (Hawaii)  
Sequoyah Children's Book Award (Oklahoma) 

Summary: Ramona Quimby is just starting kindergarten this year, and her inventive and imaginative mind causes her a few problems. First of all, there is a girl named Susan who has beautiful curly hair that Ramona longs to pull, and then there is her deep desire to make her teacher love her. Ramona is very creative, and draws the "Q" in her last name to resemble a cat with whiskers. There is a very funny episode where Ramona gets her boots stuck in the mud and has to be rescued. One day Ramona goes to school and loses a tooth, which she gives to her teacher for safe keeping, but when she is caught pulling Susan's hair again she is told that she should stay home until she can quit pulling hair. Indignant, Ramona throws a big fuss, and kicks the wall with her heels, and ends up staying home from school until she can calm down. She is sad because she desires to make her teacher love her, but doesn't want to go to school if she isn't wanted. She makes up her mind to go back to school when her teacher sends a letter with Ramona's tooth inside, and a note telling her that they miss her in class.
     "Ramona, who wanted to be helpful, knew what happened when a car was stuck in the mud. 'Could you call a t-tow t-truck?' she asked with a big sniff. She could see herself being yanked out of the mud by a heavy chain being hooked in the collar of her raincoat. She found this picture so interesting that her sobs subsided."

My Impressions: Ramona seems to be the kind of child who desires so strongly to be helpful and to be loved; she is continually being scolded for acting out or over-expressing herself, and she frequently misunderstands things, leading to ill-conceived notions of how the world works. For example, her teacher teaches the class to sing The Star Spangled Banner in class, but she mistakes the words, thinking the song is about a "dawnzer," which gives off a "lee-light." Ramona's experiences are real enough to allow her audience to identify with her, and her experiences are so legitimately tragic to a five-year-old, such as being forced to share a ribbon or being told not to pull hair.

Parent's Guide: No issues. I would strongly recommend this book.

Recommendations: I read this book when I was very young, and I feel like I identify with Ramona. I would recommend this book for parents of kids who want to be good, but are in no way perfect. I absolutely love the Ramona books!

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