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Dear Mr. Henshaw, I wish somebody would stop stealing the good stuff out of my lunchbag. I guess I wish a lot of other things, too. I wish someday Dad and Bandit would pull up in front in the rig…Dad would yell out of the cab, “Come on, Leigh. Hop in and I’ll give you a lift to school.”
Leigh Botts has been author Boyd Henshaw’s number one fan ever since he was in second grade. Now in sixth grade, Leigh lives with his mother and is the new kid at school. He’s lonely, troubled by the absence of his father, a cross-country trucker, and angry because a mysterious thief steals from his lunchbag. Then Leigh’s teacher assigns a letter-writing project. Naturally Leigh chooses to write to Mr. Henshaw, whose surprising answer changes Leigh’s life.
“Look, Ryan,” he said. “I’m in trouble and I don’t have time to tell you about it. Just take me and my motorcycle with you, and don’t ask questions.”
“To school?” Ryan was surprised.
Ralph’s pesky cousins are wrecking his motorcycle, and his janitor friend, Matt, is in trouble because there seem to be mice in the hotel. All in all things are not going well at the Mountain View Inn. So Ralph persuades his young pal Ryan to take him to school. Ralph is an instant hit with Ryan’s classmates. But he doesn’t like being forced to run through a maze or the threat of an exterminator coming to the school. Worst of all, Ryan gets into a fight with a classmate, and Ralph’s precious motorcycle is broken. Is Ralph S. Mouse smart enough to steer this sad situation to a happy ending?
Beverly Cleary has given books to each member of the Quimby household except Mrs. Quimby. Now she gets her turn at last in a story that hits the high and low points of a working mother’s life as seen from Ramona’s seven-and-a-half-year-old viewpoint.
Inevitably domestic tensions, not without their amusing side, occasionally arise. Mr. and Mrs. Quimby sometimes forget who is to do what, as when the Crock-Pot is not plugged in and dinner remains uncooked. Beezus acquires a ludicrous teased hairdo at the student body shop while Ramona gets a becoming pixie haircut. Ramona, who feels unloved, takes to twitching her nose like a rabbit in a cozy picture book until her teacher becomes concerned that something is making her nervous.
Yet Ramona is wrong. She is loved, and readers will rejoice with her when she discovers the wonderful truth. Few writers today are as skilled as Mrs. Cleary at showing families in the round, and here she is at the peak of her powers.
Ramona just wants everyone to be happy. If only her father would smile and joke again, her mother would look less worried, her sister would be cheerful, and Picky-picky would eat his cat-food. But Ramona’s father has lost his job, and nobody in the Quimby household is in a very good mood.
Ramona tries to cheer up the family as only Ramona can—by rehearsing for life as a rich and famous star of television commercials, for instance—but her best efforts only make things worse. Her sister, Beezus, calls her a, pest, her parents lose patience with her, and her teacher claims she’s forgotten her- manners. But when her father admits he wouldn’t trade her for a million dollars, Ramona knows everything is going to work out fine in the end.
Ramona is off to kindergarten, and it’s the greatest day of her life. So why is she sitting on the bench while the rest of the students play the game gray duck? Laughs and minor upsets abound in an enormously popular story starring the one and only Ramona Quimby!
To the delight of Ramona Quimby readers everywhere, Newbery Medal-winning author Beverly Cleary has just made Ramona’s world a little bit bigger.
As she starts the fourth grade, Ramona believes that this year will be “the best year of her life, so far.” She can show off her calluses from swinging on the rings in the park; the boy she calls Yard Ape sits across the aisle from her; her teacher praises her writing; and she has a new baby sister, Roberta. But best of all, she has a new best friend, Daisy.
Little does Ramona know the challenges her fourth-grade year holds in store. Not only must she improve her rotten spelling, but she must also be a good role model for baby Roberta. And her mother wants her to spend more time with the awful Susan.
Life isn’t easy, especially when she is surrounded by perfect spellers and everyone praises her big sister, Beezus, for being responsible. Sometimes Ramona fails, often with hilarious results. But with the support of family and friends, she discovers something reassuring—that being imperfect can be perfectly fine.
Ramona Quimby, one of the most loved characters in children’s fiction, has now reached third grade. At school, she acquires a new teacher, Mrs. Whaley, who addresses the class as “you guys.” At home, she helps the family “squeak by” as her father returns to college to become an art teacher.
All the Quimbys have their ups and downs, but none feels them more intensely than Ramona. Her low point is undoubtedly reached the day she throws up in class and Mrs. Whaley instructs the children to hold their noses and file into the hall. But three days later Ramona recovers her verve sufficiently to give a book report in the style of a T.V. commercial, bringing down the house with her final ad-lib line of “I can’t believe I read the whole thing!”
Writing with humor and compassion, Beverly Cleary continues her chronicle of a child’s growth and lovingly reaffirms the durability of the memorable Quimby family. They may not be nice all the time, but they stick together through good times and bad.