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Beezus is a responsible nine-year-old who enjoys helping her mother with chores; attending her painting class; sewing; and playing checkers with her neighbor, Henry. Her younger sister, four-year-old Ramona, is a whole different personality. Ramona is noisy and opinionated and not shy in the least. She loves to follow Beezus around but she’s always causing trouble! Beezus is horrified to realize that she doesn’t always love her sister.
I posted in my Weekly Update for September 13, 2020 that I was stressed out from the wildfires near us and looking for a fun, mindless read. Kathy at Inside of a Dog suggested re-reading an old favorite. When I posted my Beverly Cleary walking tour of Portland, I realized that some of her books were just what the doctor ordered. I started with the first Ramona book.
I’m 42 as I write this so it’s been 30 – 35 years since I read any of Beverly Cleary’s books. I always enjoyed them as a child, and can clearly picture exactly where they were on my local library’s shelves. I called it a good library day when I found a new one. Who am I kidding? Every library visit was a good library day, but those were exceptional library days. I was amazed by how much of this book actually came back as I read it. The birthday cake, the party, the apples, the visit to the library…. These books are still very much present in my subconscious.
In thinking back to the Ramona books, I always remember Ramona and her antics most clearly. She’s a little firecracker. She still had me laughing out loud on this re-read, all these years later! I’ve always associated Ramona with my younger sister and I still see the two in each other. My sister was a handful too! Beezus as a character never stood out as much in my memory but I’m definitely a Beezus, the quiet girl who doesn’t want to make waves.
As an older reader, I find it astonishing how much freedom these young children had. Beezus would take Ramona to the park and leave her in the sandbox, completely unsupervised, while she was in her art class. They wandered freely for quite a distance from home. What a difference in social norms between those days (1950s and ‘60s) and these.
If you’ve never had the pleasure of reading Beverly Cleary’s books, give any of them a try. This one is a great place to start. If, like me, you need some comfort reading, rest assured that these old favorites have stood the test of time and they’re ready to bring a little childlike joy back to you.
If you liked Beezus and Ramona, you might also like my reviews of
- Five on a Treasure Island by Enid Blyton
- The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall, read by Susan Denaker
- Kat, Incorrigible by Stephanie Burgis
Buy Beezus and Ramona from Malaprop’s Bookstore in Asheville, NC.