In honor of Beverly Cleary’s 100th birthday, my 8-year-old has reviewed the Ramona Quimby series:
I love the Ramona Quimby books by Beverly Cleary. I’ve read 8 books in all. I hope you like them too.
I like them because Beezus (which is short for Beatrice!) and Ramona are sisters who always get into trouble.
And they always find a funny solution. One time Beezus thought that Ramona was dead because she couldn’t find Ramona anywhere. When she finally found Ramona, the good news was that Ramona wasn’t dead. The bad news was Ramona was still in big trouble and not for just disappearing.
My favorite book in the series is Ramona and Her Father. I like it because Beezus and Ramona try to stop their father from smoking before he almost…
Well you can read it and find out.
Sam devoured all eight of the Ramona Quimby books on her Kindle, a very modern way to read a series that is more than half a century old. The first story in the series landed on bookshelves in the mid-1950s, when the United States was a different place from what it is now. For example:
- More women are working outside of the home, comprising about half of the workforce today versus 30% in 1950;
- The American population has more than doubled, becoming more racially and ethnically diverse; and
- Thanks to the proliferation of indoor entertainment and the rise of so-called “helicopter parenting,” among other reasons, the average American child spends far less time outside today than they did in 1950.
Cleary’s series is certainly a product of its time with references to such places as the radio-and-phonograph store, its portrayal of highly independent young children, and its reliance on traditional gender norms. At one point, for example, Ramona’s mother and her friend wonder why a little boy would ever want to play with a ribbon, a “girly” item.
Though Ramona’s world is quite different from ours, my daughter identifies with the Quimby girls. Beezus’s uptight nature, Ramona’s penchant for mischief, and the sororal bond between them are timeless. I have no doubt that generations to come will enjoy reading about Ramona’s antics and Beezus’s frustrations just as much as my children do.
*The picture at the top of this post is what happens when my twins get their hands on Photoshop. (Sam’s response, which she typed herself after reading this post over my shoulder: But mommy let us!)