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.

Beezus and Ramona by Beverly Cleary

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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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Five Gold Stars

Beezus and RamonaBeezus and Ramona by Beverly Cleary

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

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

Beezus and Ramona: the first book in an awesome series by my favorite childhood author, Beverly Cleary. Nine-year-old Beezus (so nicknamed back when her younger sister could not yet pronounce “Beatrice”) is sure her sister Ramona must be the most “exasperating” sister in the world, and this chronicle shows how much their unremarkable yet remarkable little adventures warrant…well, warrant being chronicled.

Cleary just gets it. She gets why four-year-old Ramona, whenever asked what color her eyes are, would answer, “Brown and white,” and why Beezus would be so annoyed at this answer that just isn’t right, even while she grudgingly has to admit, inwardly, that Ramona makes sense. Cleary gets why Ramona would do something so silly and troublesome as dump and mix whole eggs, shells and all, into the batter that’s supposed to become Beezus’s birthday cake. Not to be naughty, in this instance, or to ruin Beezus’s birthday, but just “To see what would happen.” Naturally. Of course. *Sigh.*

The thoughtful correlations that Beezus eventually makes between herself and Ramona and their mother and Aunt Beatrice are simple, easily grasped. And yet they’re brilliant in that they, along with everything else in this book, give children the sense that somebody else understands what it’s like to be a child.

Yes, I first read this book a time or two as a little girl, and doing so again as an adult has reminded me afresh, and even to a greater degree, why I loved–love–the Ramona Quimby books so much. Indeed, I agree with the old Chicago Tribune review that called this book “Hilarious–and wise,” and I plan on rereading the rest of the series as well, including my absolute favorite book as a child, Ramona the Pest.

Ramona the Pest

Ramona the Pest by Beverly Cleary

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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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Five Gold Stars

Ramona the PestRamona the Pest by Beverly Cleary

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

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

My favorite book as a small child! I just “got” Ramona so well, with her plights and joys, and even back then, I could tell something was different about Cleary’s books, compared to the more modern children’s books I read. (Well, “modern” for the 80s and 90s.) I loved the old-fashioned feel of Ramona the Pest, and who could forget good ol’ Chevrolet and the “dawnzer” that gives a lee light? I read the book at least twice, but three or four times might be more accurate. Long live the Ramona series!

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These are the editions of all the other Ramona books I’ve read, borrowed from my elementary school’s library, and I enjoyed every one of them. I heard tell years after I’d read all the books that a new one had been added to the series, Ramona’s World, published in 1999. I’m sure I’ll have to get my hands on that one as well, whenever I procure the series for my own library.

Beezus and Ramona Ramona the Brave Ramona and Her Father

Ramona and her Mother (Ramona Quimby) Ramona Quimby Age 8 (Ramona #6) Ramona Forever