Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Ramona the Pest - Beverly Cleary

Summary:  It is the greatest day of Ramona's life.  She is in kindergarten and she loves her teacher, Miss Binney.  She likes a little boy named Davy so much she wants to kiss him.  She's fascinated by Susan's beautiful reddish brown curls that bounce like springs when she runs.  Ramona is thrilled about all the new things to see.

So how in the world does Ramona get in trouble?  Why is she sitting on a bench when the rest of the class is playing Gray Duck?  Why does Davy run as fast as he can when Ramona comes near him?  And how does Ramona disrupt the whole class during rest time?  Well, anyone who knows Ramona knows that she is never a pest on purpose.

My Review:  Ramona the Pest, the first book in the well known Ramona Series, is told from the perspective of a young girl named Ramona Quimby, who is just starting kindergarten.  Make no mistake, Ramona Quimby is the original Junie B. Jones; she’s incurably curious, unfailingly honest, stubborn to a fault, and a bit of an unintentional pest.  No matter how hard she tries to be good, Ramona just can’t seem to stop herself from tugging on Susan’s lovely curls, chasing Davy around the playground, and getting herself in all sorts of trouble.  She loves many things about going to school, but the best thing about kindergarten is her wonderful teacher.  No one can even compare to Miss Binney.

We accidentally read Ramona Quimby, Age 8, the third book in the series, before this one.  Oops. I recommend reading them it order, of course, but it was nice to see that Ramona grows up in the next couple of books.  In this one, she really is kind of a pest.  She’s cute and funny, of course, but also does things she shouldn’t and makes great big loud noisy fusses when she doesn’t get her way.  I kept having to stop and say to my wide-eyed children, “Wow, she really should have done that, should she?!”  However, most of these incidences were quickly followed with the appropriate consequence, so I think that it all worked out.   
My children and I enjoyed reading about Ramona’s adventures and escapades – my personal favorites were when she got stuck in the mud in her new rain boots and ended up declaring her love for her reluctant rescuer, Henry Huggins.  The illustrations, found every few pages, were adorable and also kept my Ramona look-(and-act)-a-like (aka Sophie) from running off.  Overall, I thought it was a wonderfully engaging book, and I enjoyed the opportunity to read it aloud to my children.

My Kids’ Thoughts:  Sophie, age five, said, “I want you to read it all over again!  Please Mama, please!” 
Her favorite part was “The whole thing!!” but she didn’t like “the part when the kids who were in school were saying ‘Hey, look at Ramona!’ when she was stuck in the mud.”

Kaisa, age eight, said, “I liked it when she dropped out of kindergarten and the chapter about the baddest witch in the world because her mask was kind of scary and funny at the same time.  And I liked it how she went up and kissed the boy (when she was wearing the scary mask) because it scared the boy that she kissed.  I also liked it when she lost her tooth.
I didn’t like it when Beezus was laughing at Ramona. You should read the book because it’s a really good book.”

My Rating: 4.25 Stars
For the sensitive reader:  A few scattered uses of the what my children call "the 'S' word" (Stupid) and some general five-year-old wickedness.

Sum it up:  Ramona is a pest, but a cute one.  She’s the original Junie B. Jones.

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