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.
After Ramona the Pest we backtracked to Beezus and Ramona (when Ramona was four), and now we’re reading Ramona and her Mother. I 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.
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.
Find these titles at your favorite local independent bookstore. Happy reading!