(story)time: Ramona the Pest (and all the rest)


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We’re knee deep in the Ramona books around here. When we finished the bookshelves in our living room my parents brought us boxes and boxes of my old books, including most of Beverly Cleary’s works. A few weeks ago I was watching the girls walk ahead of me, and something about the two of them reminded me of Ramona and Beezus. I realized it was time to get them off the shelf and start sharing them with the little one.

We started with Ramona the Pest because the timeline aligned with the start of Kindergarten in our house as well. In the past we’ve read chapter books to F, but she’s still insisted on her typical “three books” before bedtime, which meant she was less into swapping out three shorter reads for one longer one. That hasn’t been the case at all with Ramona. The chapters are long ones – some take thirty or more minutes to read, but she’s completely riveted.

ramona-the-pest

After Ramona the Pest we backtracked to Beezus and Ramona (when Ramona was four), and now we’re reading Ramona and her MotherI love reading these books again – I read them over and over again as a child, but I’d forgotten how wonderful they are. Ramona reminds me of F in many ways, but what is more interesting than her outward behavior is listening to and understanding her voice. Since we started reading them I’ve noticed that I’m watching F more, standing back a bit, looking for clues to the inner workings of her mind and her imagination. She’s connecting with these stories in a completely different way than stories we’ve read together in the past. And I believe I’m doing the same.

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There are several books in the Ramona series, and many other books about secondary characters in the Ramona collection. Ramona and Her Mother might just be my favorite, but perhaps that’s just the me of now talking. Beverly Cleary knows her audience(s).

The series is perfect for five-year-old’s, and superb early readers for your new chapter book lovers.

Ramona bike

Find these titles at your favorite local independent bookstore. Happy reading!

5 Responses to (story)time: Ramona the Pest (and all the rest)

  1. Ramona was my absolute favorite. I dressed up as her for book character day. I sent fan mail to Beverly Cleary. When we visited family in Portland, OR, we made a special detour to Klickitat Street so that I could have my picture taken on Ramona’s street! Such great books.
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  2. Oh my goodness, we love Ramona here. For all the same reasons. My daughter is starting 1st grade and my son is starting 3rd, and they both love these stories. The books are great on so many levels – I feel like we all gain a little insight into how and why we behave they way we do, as well as how easy it is to misunderstand each other. They have been great conversation starters — particularly about the kids’ feelings, fears and frustrations. The fact that they are so funny and enjoyable is a bonus. Anyway, it was a nice coincidence to see this post, as we have been so big on Ramona lately. We’ve also been reading the Little House series — another great read aloud series that both of my kids love.

    • Your comment is spot on tonight. We’re reading “Ramona and Her Mother” and we just read the chapter “The Quarrel”. I remember that chapter well – how Ramona and Beezus were so worried and upset about their parents fighting at the end of a long day. F always asks me about new vocabulary words, and tonight it was “What’s divorce?” I could remember how nervous and upset that scene made me when I was little, and it was interesting to read it again and see it from the parents’ perspective. It was a long day for the Quimby’s, and nothing had gone right. Their bickering seems harmless to me now, but reading (and remembering) Ramona and Beezus’ reactions really made me think about the impact of our words. (Particularly when they aren’t that kind.)

      I think the Little House series will be our next ones. F’s completely hooked on chapter books now .

  3. That’s the last Ramona book we read, and that chapter had a definite impact on my kids as well. Lots of questions that night. It is so interesting to me, as I realized that I was fully aware of divorce by the time I was Ramona’s age, but my kids had not a clue. How fortunate they are!

    I was surprised how much my kids enjoyed the Little House books… they always wanted just one more chapter, PLEASE! I loved them as a kid. But, they are somewhat slower-paced than our usual reads, and more descriptive than plot driven. I wasn’t sure they would hold their attention. But I was so wrong – they were riveted. Enjoy!

  4. Pingback: (story)time: ivy + bean | third story(ies)

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