I took a bit of a break from reading in 2020, but I’m back at it with my Reading Challenge goal set at ten, and re-read of an old favorite, part of a series of old favorites. Because times like these call for comfort books, which is like comfort food for the brain and eyes.
Ramona and Her Father by Beverly Cleary
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I first read “Ramona and Her Father” in third grade (1991-1992), and re-read it sometime the following school year, in fourth grade. Ramona’s series was among the other Beverly Cleary books I read during intermediate school, and are among my favorite children’s stories.
In “Ramona and Her Father,” (beginning with Ramona starting second grade) the Quimby family must endure Mr. Quimby’s job loss, and the stresses and changes that come with it – Mrs. Quimby going to work full time in a different doctor’s office, “scrimping and saving,” and second-grader Ramona wanting to be famous like the kids in commercials eating hamburgers, as well as butter that makes crowns appear on their heads. Of course, anything Ramona is inspired to do usually ends with up with comedic results. All of this leads up to the church Christmas nativity pageant, and some good news for the Quimby family.
Coincidentally, my father bought this book for me when we were in the book store at one of the local malls – I believe I got this one at a local bookstore, Friar Tuck, rather than my usual haunt, B. Dalton, at the other mall. Usually, I bought books with my allowance, Christmas/birthday money, or on occasion, my mom would buy me books, but my dad bought them for me once in a while if he followed me into the bookstore. I just always found it funny that this was the one he bought.
As with the other books in Ramona’s series, I love this story. The mischief Ramona gets into, all for the sake of hoping to make enough money to make her family’s stresses go away, her scheming to get an amazing costume for the Christmas pageant, and the relationship with her father, which is stressed by Ramona insisting her dad quit smoking, and bonded by working on the biggest picture. I’ve always embraced the creative side of Ramona, as I could easily relate to that side of her personality. The scheming side, however, can be a bit much. But she’s clearly determined, gotta give her credit for her efforts, no matter how disastrous.
One of the redeeming qualities about the Ramona Quimby series is that despite re-publishing over the years – the ebook edition I currently own is from 2008; my original copy was the 1982 version – there are no updates made to the stories. Technology, dialogue updates, nothing is changed to reflect the times. I love that – the story I read as a nine-year-old is the exact same story I just read as a 38-year-old. All of Cleary’s books have remained in the time they were originally published, with no modernization made. This not only appeals to my nostalgic side, but to the purist in me, who doesn’t want to see changes to my favorite childhood stories. This story remains perfectly in 1977, and even though some of it was over my head in 1992, I get the references in 2021.
Next up in the series is the dynamic of Ramona’s relationship with her mother, with the scheming and misadventures you’d expect from “the girl who could not wait.”
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