It’s not easy being eight, and it’s definitely not easy being Ramona Quimby!
Ramona is now eight years old, preparing for her first day of third grade at a new school, which means the great new adventure of riding the school bus. There’s new kids, new sandals that make a most interesting sound, and even a new eraser for good luck. Ramona isn’t the only one with changes – her sister Beezus is now in junior high school, and Mr. Quimby is starting college, studying to be a teacher, while working at the grocery store’s frozen food warehouse part-time. There’s also the introduction of Sustained Silent Reading (or DEAR – Drop Everything and Read), “selling a book,” and Ramona’s “job” of having to be nice to Willa Jean Kemp no matter what.
Of course, with all the excitement of third grade comes all the trials and tribulations that come with being Ramona – worrying that her teacher thinks she’s a nuisance, that one annoying classmate, and a few most embarrassing moments.
I first read Ramona Quimby, Age 8 when I myself was in third grade (and probably two more times between then and fifth grade). I can’t say I relate to smashing an egg on my forehead or getting sick in the classroom – that happened in my thirties in a movie theater from food poisoning, but I definitely remembered the moment in this book when that happened.
Several episodes of the TV series based on the books come from chapters in this book – “Squeakerfoot” has elements of the “musical shoes” Ramona wears, along with the egg smashing. “Ramona The Patient” combines elements of “Supernuisance” and “The Patient” (with some minor changes and additions), and “Rainy Sunday” is pretty much word-for-word the chapter in the book, with a minor addition to the plot.
The book, and the TV show episodes that came from it, are cute and hold up well to time. 1981 be darned, the book mentions some things that would make sense if you’re into nostalgia, or grew up during that time, but otherwise, nothing seems dated, and nothing is changed with the editions to bring them to the present. My original copy was from the early 1990s, but my current copy is from the mid-2000s. There are no changes aside from artwork, and I love that. Beverly Cleary knew how to capture the trials and tribulations of being a child, no matter when they grew up. For a child she had been capturing in literature since the 1950s, the only thing that changed was time, and not the child or her experiences.
As Ramona said “I can’t believe I read the whole thing!”, but at least I enjoyed this book!
View all my reviews