Today Bit and I finished our most recent read aloud, Ramona Quimby, Age 8. This has absolutely nothing to do with the movie version of Ramona that recently came out. Bit doesn't even know that exists. I stipulated her next book had to be non Fantasy and this is the one she chose.
The StoryThere are eight books that cover the young life of Ramona Quimby. This volume chronicles Ramona's first few months in third grade. The reader is treated to glimpses of many of the trials of being a kid. Following fads, throwing up in your classroom, having to deal with people who don't understand you and rude little boys who steal your eraser but make you giggle too.
I like this book because I like how Ramona responds to people who are new to her, like the old man she met at dinner. I like the way Ramona acts with Yard Ape. I think it is good how she ignores him mostly. I like the way Ramona's family works together and has fun. It reminds me of my family. My favorite part was when Ramona did her book report like a cat commercial. I didn't like when Ramona got sick because I don't think it's good to throw up in your classroom.
This is one of the few Ramona books I remember reading as a child. I think the only ones I read were this one and Ramona Forever. My sister was more into these books than I was. I was curious as to how it would hold up nearly 30 years after it was published. After all, some very time specific things are mentioned like the commercials with the dancing cats and "I can't believe I ate the whole thing." It is also a whole different world technologically. Bit didn't have any problems slipping into it though. The way the commercials were described contemporary children will recognize them as funny without having to know they ever really existed. Bit didn't notice the technological differences probably because her life is a lot like Ramona's in that her access to available entertainment on such things is very limited. That might be different with other contemporary readers. Despite that, these books really are timeless and that is because Beverly Cleary understands how kids think. There were a couple times when Bit's eyes widened and she asked, "How does she think just like me?" Reading this as a parent, it was a good reminder of how little minds work and what might be behind some of the things they do. What I like best about the Ramona books is that they are simply about life as a child. There is stress and there are worries but they are all in the context of how a child would perceive and deal with them. There is a perfect combination of tense times and funny times and all of it is completely possible for any child to experience themselves at any moment.
This was originally posted on my livejournal October 2010.