April 12th is Beverly Cleary’s birthday. Beverly Cleary is the author of many children’s books starring characters such as Henry Higgins, Ralph S. Mouse, and Beezus and Ramona Quimby. I have a soft spot for Beverly Cleary as I remember reading many of her books in elementary school. My favorite books were the Ramona Quimby series.
The Ramona books are some of the first books I remember reading all by myself, without any help. These books were grown up books, with chapters and chapter titles. They were paperback books with plenty of pages, nothing like the Berenstain Bears or Little Critter children’s books. I have fond memories of my 3rd grade teacher reading Ramona the Pest to the class. We would sit on the floor, our little faces beaming up at her as we listened, fascinated, to the exploits of Ramona and Beezus.
Ramona goes through so many things in the series that it is hard not to fall in love with the character. Who wasn’t enthralled by the adventures of the precocious Ramona? Who didn’t want to pull their neighbor’s boingy curls and watch them spring back or stomp through the mud and puddles in brand new shiny boots? Who could forget when Ramona cracked a raw egg on her head or suggested to turn on the dawnzer lee light? And who couldn’t help but feel Ramona’s excitement when her teacher told her to sit in her seat for the present. Without a doubt, Beverly Cleary knows how to portray children’s thoughts and feelings perfectly.
Additionally, the Ramona books are about growing up and taking care of family. They are about the bonding between sisters and about learning to cope with the death of a beloved pet. They show us that sometimes parents are frustrating, all families fight, and occasionally the mystery meat in pot roast is tongue, but at the end of the day things can work out.
So Happy Birthday Beverly Cleary! And may Ramona, Beezus, and Picky Picky be always in your thoughts.