Arts and Entertainment, Books, Fiction

Henry Huggins 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.

Henry Huggins by Beverly Cleary

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

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

Although Henry has fun going to the Y and swimming and things, he feels like nothing exciting ever happens to him. But then one day he meets a stray, thin, rambunctious dog and names him Ribsy. Little does Henry know of all the excitement he’ll be in for now in Henry Huggins by author Beverly Cleary.

Wow! I’ve read a couple of other Henry books before, but I didn’t know (or didn’t remember?) that this one is actually the first book Cleary ever had published, back in good ol’ 1950.

It’s a fun and pleasant read overall, and a little nostalgic for a reader like me. Typewriters, telephone booths where you can make a call for a nickel, and a young hero who says things like, “Gee, Dad, that’s swell!” Yeah, I laughed out loud a couple good times (Henry is hilarious for trying to write that letter), and it was great to see sisters Beezus (Beatrice) and Ramona where they actually first appear in a book. Been there all the time, but, hey, it’s new to me!

I’m like the author in that the Ramona books that come later are my favorites of Cleary’s work. But what a nice introduction this book is to Henry, Ribsy, and the gang on Klickitat Street.

____________

Note to my blog readers: no, I didn’t actually read an old copy with illustrations by Louis Darling. I have a new copy from Harper instead. But me and my nostalgic self couldn’t resist using that great old book cover up there.

________________

Here’s my review of the second book in the Henry Huggins series, Henry and Beezus.

 

Advertisements
Arts and Entertainment, Authors, Books, Fiction

Ramona’s World 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.

Ramona’s World by Beverly Cleary

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

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

Wow! Ramona Quimby isn’t far from turning “zeroteen” years old. She’s now in fourth grade, makes a new best friend, and gets to spend time being the big sister for a change, at home. (Well, “a” big sister, anyway.) But as always, her adventures this year will come with their share of challenges in Ramona’s World by author Beverly Cleary.

So, here we are. I’ve finally read the belated conclusion to the Ramona Quimby series, after first meeting Ramona back when I was six. I’ll admit this last book (which was published fifteen years after the original last book, Ramona Forever, and almost forty-five years after the first book, Beezus and Ramona) didn’t have quite the same “Ramona book” feel that I’m accustomed to.

Of course, I did read and reread the other books as a child first before revisiting them as a grownup, and of course x2, Ramona is growing up herself. Nothing against her friend Howie, but Ramona’s finding that she needs more girl time, now. Plus, she’s liked a boy or two, here and there, but when it comes to a certain boy in her fourth grade class, liking him is, well, a little different.

Anyway, I got a good helping of laughs out of this book’s humor, so that was much the same. And the girl I was, who’s yet in me, can still identify a lot with this young heroine: earning the calluses on her hands, holding an unfolded paper clip in front of her mouth, pondering how lame it is for her teacher to reward good spelling with Reward Words that are even harder to spell.

All in all, it was a delight to finish one of my all-time favorite series. Again. 🙂

_____________

The first few times around, it was a delight to finish this series with Ramona Forever.

 

Arts and Entertainment, Authors, Books, Fiction

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.

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.

_____________

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

 

Arts and Entertainment, Authors, Books, Fiction

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.

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.

____________________

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!