Monday, December 20, 2010

Ramona and Her Father, by Beverly Cleary

I had the pleasure of reading a chapter from a Ramona book a few weeks ago, when Ann and Michael, the kids I was babysitting, asked for it before bed. It was the first time I'd picked one up in several years, and the words as I read them were like literary comfort food. So I looked for a Ramona book for my next blog read!

During the course of this book, Ramona's father is laid off from his job, and the family goes through a difficult period while he looks for work. The budget is tight, people are stressed, and even though Ramona is only 8, she notices. She notices a lot more than the grownups (and her teen sister Beezus) give her credit for, actually, and this is one of the things I remember loving about the books as a kid. Take note, adults, the 8-year-olds around you are paying attention.

There are also, of course, moments of fun. Like when discussing with her father what they should do one day after school, Ramona suggests standing in the middle of the bridge between Oregon and Washington, to be half in each state. Or when Beezus has to interview someone old for a school assignment, and Ramona tags along and learns about the tin-can stilts her neighbor made as a child during the Depression, which she and her friend Howie delight in clanging around the neighborhood when they make their own.

I saw first-hand with Ann and Michael that Ramona transcends the decades and remains relevant. I think the "ditto machine" may have gone over their heads, and there are a few other things like that in the text, but overall Ramona seems to be aging just fine!

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