Ramona Forever by Beverly Cleary

Book reviews are subjective. I tend to rate books not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me.
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Ramona Forever by Beverly Cleary

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Changes are afoot in Ramona Quimby’s neck of the woods. Her father is on a new job search, and a momentous turning point is coming for Ramona and her older sister, Beezus. Plus, there are surprises in store around the Quimby house: one big surprise, and one “little” surprise that’s just as big! Through her adventures of growing up, Ramona is still Ramona in Ramona Forever by author Beverly Cleary.

Well! This book was originally a smashing end to the Ramona series, back in 1984, before the 1999 addition of one more Ramona book. Even with Forever no longer being the last, it’s a smashing continuation and still one of my favorites.

It’s got its laugh-out-loud moments and its heart-tugging moments when things get real. And, honestly, why do grownups treat children in some of the silly ways they do? (Yikes. I’m a grownup now. Do I do any of that silly stuff?) I understand Ramona’s disinclination to giving people the silent treatment: “Ramona often yelled at people, but never refused to speak. Nothing could happen if you didn’t speak, and she liked things to happen.” And I’ve always been proud of the way Ramona saves the day in this story—oh, yes, she does!

Never a dull moment in this book full of changes in Ramona’s life, and I’m looking forward to reading the next one in the series, which will be all-new to me.

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Yep. Beverly Cleary added one more book to the Ramona series while I wasn’t looking: Ramona’s World.

Ramona Quimby, Age 8 by Beverly Cleary

Book reviews are subjective. I tend to rate books not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me.
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Ramona Quimby, Age 8 by Beverly Cleary

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

(Click the title to find the book description/blurb.)

Mr. Quimby has gone back to school to become a teacher, Beezus is starting junior high, and Ramona’s going to a new primary school. All the while, Mrs. Quimby must go to work every day to keep the family afloat. With everyone facing collective changes, Ramona wants to be the kind of girl her family can depend on in Ramona Quimby, Age 8 by author Beverly Cleary.

Not to say I didn’t enjoy this book as a child (I got such a kick out of all the Ramona books), but I’m quite certain I enjoyed this one more, this time around.

I can’t get over how well the little-things-that-are-big-things are captured in Ramona’s stories. Here, we have the joy of getting a brand new, smooth, pearly pink eraser to start off the school year. The anger when some wise guy classmate steals that eraser! The humiliation of getting sick in school. The warmth and coziness of a family car ride home on a rainy evening. The thrill and luxury of going out for dinner at Whopperburger!

And the absolute best part of class at school: silent reading! How handy to then be able to pull out something as mature and important as “Sustained Silent Reading” after school, to avoid playing with that annoying little Willa Jean for too long. Even if… “One of these days Willa Jean was sure to catch on that [Ramona] was just reading a book, and Ramona wanted to postpone that time as long as possible.”

I laughed out loud several times, I was touched along the way, and I’m as hyped as ever to be revisiting this series.

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Okay, so it’s my second time linking back to Ramona and Her Father from a different review, but I also enjoyed that one more, the second around. I understand better now how Mr. Quimby must have felt.
And I’m just now realizing that both of these are Newbery Honor Books!

Ramona and Her Mother by Beverly Cleary

Book reviews are subjective. I tend to rate books not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me.
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Ramona and Her Mother by Beverly Cleary

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

(Click the title to find the book description/blurb.)

Sometimes it seems like Ramona Quimby’s older sister, Beezus, gets all the attention and privileges in the family. In fact, Mrs. Quimby lets neighbors and friends know she couldn’t get along without Beezus, and Ramona feels left out. Yet, a drastic decision Ramona makes will remind her just how her mother feels about her in Ramona and Her Mother by Beverly Cleary.

What a pleasure to revisit one of my favorites in the Ramona series. (What a double-pleasure to have obtained a copy that even smells like the one I read all those years ago. Oh yes indeed.) Cleary has such an understanding of life through the eyes of a seven-and-a-half-year-old, showing how much those childhood matters matter. Reading chapter books! Feeling carsick. New pajamas! Mom and Dad have a spat. And, yes—practicing one’s cursive handwriting!

There are dashes of humor that got laughter out of me. But the story (and the Ramona series altogether) doesn’t avoid real-life situations that friends and families can find themselves in. And, gee, much like when I recently reread Ramona and Her Father, being able now to understand this story on a greater level from both an adult’s and a child’s point of view makes it all the more touching.

Sure, I may be growing even more sensitive in my adult years, but if a children’s book ever got a tear out of me toward the end, this one did. I blame the wonderful illustration that accompanies the scene!

Let’s see now, I’ve got two more Ramona books to revisit, and the newer one I’ve not read before…

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Here’s my review of Ramona and Her Father.

Ramona and Her Father by Beverly Cleary

Book reviews are subjective. I tend to rate books not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me.
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Ramona and Her Father by Beverly Cleary

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

(Click the title to find the book description/blurb.)

Ramona Quimby wishes her family would perk up. Her cat refuses to eat, her older sister is going through a moody and defiant phase, and her parents worry a lot these days, since her father just lost his job. But if Ramona sets her mind to it, maybe she can find a way to help her father through this rough patch in Ramona and Her Father by author Beverly Cleary.

Just as I remembered from childhood, I found this to be one of the darker Ramona books (although back then, “sadder” is the word I likely would’ve used.) It’s certainly a serious situation for Ramona here, with her family being even more strapped for cash than usual, and her father putting his lungs in danger with cigarettes. (Wow–I’d forgotten all about Ramona’s mission against her father’s smoking habit! My, does that lead to some parts that prick my heart in a whole new way, now that I can better appreciate how Mr. Quimby must feel.)

But there’s still patented Ramona humor and fun in the read, with a heroine whose feelings about things like eating out at Whopperburger are so on point. Plus, seeing how an imperfect Mr. Quimby is a good man who loves and gets a kick out of his daughter makes this a winner of a tale.

Oh–and did I mention this book’s delightfully Christmassy ending?

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Ramona and Her Father is the fourth book in the Ramona Quimby series. Another one on the “sadder but wonderful” side is the book that precedes this one, Ramona the Brave.