Ramona Quimby, Age 8
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.
From the first day of third grade, when Ramona Quimby meets her eventual nemesis Yard Ape, life moves on at its usual wild pace—usual for the boisterous Ramona, that is. Soon she is accidentally squashing a raw egg into her hair at the school cafeteria, being forced to play Uncle Rat with her annoying young neighbor, and, worst of all, throwing up in her classroom. The responsibilities of an 8-year-old are sometimes daunting, especially in a family that is trying to squeak by while the father goes back to school. But Ramona is full of too much vim and vigor to ever be down for long.
In her second Newbery Honor Book about Ramona (the first was Ramona and Her Father), Beverly Cleary presents another slice of the Quimby family life. Author of more than two dozen children’s books, Cleary has a true knack for understanding the tangle of thoughts and emotions in a child’s mind and heart. Empathic, witty, and astute, she has earned many other awards, including the Newbery Medal for Dear Mr. Henshaw. Alan Tiegreen’s clever line drawings have charmed countless readers of Cleary’s books over the years, and his style is now inextricably tied to hers. (Ages 8 to 12) —Emilie Coulter