This was my first ever Ramona Quimby read, and I have to say, I was not looking forward to it at all. I thought the books would be the chronicle of daily life for a spunky elementary school girl who was probably smarter than average. Yawn. And in a way, that’s exactly what it was. I was not prepared, however, for the affection I felt for Ramona and her sweet family. The book tells the story of a young family whose father is in college, thereby putting a strain on the family finances, a mother who works full time in a medical office, a slightly annoying but not terrible older sister, and Ramona Quimby, age 8. She runs into a few problems at school – a boy steals her eraser, but they eventually become friends; her beloved teacher seems to think Ramona is a nuisance, but that misunderstanding is eventually cleared up; a terrible bout of stomach flu causes Ramona to throw up in front of all of her friends, but while home sick, she gets to have her mother’s full and loving attention, which makes it a little less terrible; the transmission goes out on the family car, which puts an even greater strain on the finances, but somehow they get through it.
The characters, while not curing cancer or otherwise setting the world on fire, are three dimensional and utterly believable. Ramona’s dad, studying to be an art teacher, doesn’t seem to be a terrific artist, which concerns Ramona. Her mother has to find affordable after school care for Ramona and her sister, and it’s not the best, but Ramona knows she has to endure the irritating preschool children, as the family finances depend on her mother’s working. Her sister is a pre-teen, and gets upset when she can’t go to a dance or a sleepover, or has too many chores. Ramona herself is a pretty typical 8 year old girl, maybe slightly more independent or spunky than others, but nothing out of the ordinary. It is this ordinariness that is so endearing. Much of our lives are pretty ordinary, and it is frustrating to think it will be otherwise, at least for the great majority of the time. Finding the humor, love and even nobility in everyday life with all of its struggles, learning experiences and moments of happiness are what we do in our lives, and what Beverly Cleary so skillfully demonstrates in her book. I actually look forward to reading more in this delightful series.
I would use this as part of a display of all of Beverly Cleary’s books that were available at the library. People who enjoy her books would enjoy seeing other books of hers that they hadn’t yet read.
Cleary, Beverly Ramona Quimby, Age 8 (1981) New York, Harper Collins.
A timeless classic, written by one of our most beloved writers, Ramona has been enjoyed by generations of children. With the movie release of Ramona and Beezus, these books are once again having a surge in popularity. Wholesome and pleasant, Ramona Quimby, Age 8 will appeal to even the youngest readers, or would make an excellent read aloud. Very mild name-calling occurs (Yard Ape) as well as some some playground teasing and taunting. Money is tight in the Quimby household, which may make for good discussion material for those with similar issues. On the whole, this is a story of a nice family and an endearing main character.
Story Snoops [Review of the book Ramona Quimby: Age 8]. Retreived from http://www.storysnoops.com/detail.php?id=734
Junior novels these days too often portray a world simmering with “relevant” problems like drugs, depression and divorce. Beverly Cleary writes happy exceptions. In two dozen warm, witty novels which have sold 3.25 million hardcover copies, she has made such young characters as Henry Hug-gins and Ramona Quimby come alive. Here Rebecca Jones, age 9, daughter of a PEOPLE senior editor, reviews Geary’s latest book:
I’ve read a lot of Beverly Cleary’s books but so far I like Ramona Quimby, Age 8 the best. Ramona was going into third grade, the highest grade in her school. Ramona was excited on the first day of school because she got to ride the bus alone. On the bus there was a boy named Danny who took her new pink eraser and threw it around. Finally, she got it back. One day Ramona asked for a hard-boiled egg in her lunch. When it was time for lunch she saved the egg for last. Everyone cracked eggs on their heads, so she did, too. Then she felt something cool and slimy running down her face. The egg hadn’t been boiled. Ramona ran into the office. There she got her hair washed out.
One day Ramona saw some blue oatmeal at school and right in front of everyone she threw up. Mrs. Whaley, her teacher, told everyone to hold their noses and walk into the hall. Ramona seems like a real person because what happens to Ramona can happen to anyone.
People.com [Review of the book Ramona Quimby: Age 8]. Retreived from http://www.people.com/people/archive/article/0,,20080461,00.html