Sometimes a smaller person has to be a bit nosier and a bit more stubborn to get noticed at all!
Hence, get labelled as a pest.
So, it’s been a few weeks!
I’ve been a bit busy, between work and finishing things up for my wedding, which is fast approaching! I’ve also been keeping busy with Allison’s Written Words (now in its fourth year on WordPress!), and my new obsession, Riverdale. I do need to do some reading, so back to Ramona Quimby and her world I go!
Ramona Vs. The Kindergarten
Ramona Quimby is ready for Kindergarten, but is Kindergarten ready for her?
Ramona The Pest was released in 1968, thirteen years after Beezus and Ramona, and despite being Ramona’s second book, was the first to focus on her almost. Beezus, who played a more prominent role in the first book, takes on a very minor role in the book.
Ramona The Pest takes place about a year after the events of Ramona’s series debut, Beezus and Ramona. It’s the beginning of a new school year, and Ramona will be going to Glenwood School along with all the bigger kids on her block, but in the Kindergarten building during the morning session.
There’s all kinds of new adventures for Ramona to engage in – seat work, writing letters of the alphabet, Show and Tell, Gray Duck…and the bounciest curls on the bossiest girl in her class.
Ramona is in a hurry to grow up, but also determined to live in her moment and impress the heck out of her teacher, Miss Binney. This, however, only seems to cause even bigger problems for Ramona. And then there was the one day Ramona’s penchant for trouble finding her really catches up to her…
Will Ramona be a Kindergarten Dropout?
As with Beezus and Ramona, I thoroughly enjoyed this story. As it is now told with Ramona in the protagonist position, it is fun to see how much she has changed in a year, and yet, how she manages to be the Ramona we all know and love. Her enthusiasm to begin this big chapter in her young life has her anxious to be grown up, rather than just feel grown up. Even at five years old, Ramona feels anyone younger than her is “a baby” or “babyish.” She informs Howie Kemp that dirt and tricycles are for “nursery school babies.”
I also love how much of this book I remembered, despite not having read it since 4th grade. The part about “Mike Mulligan and his Steam Shovel” (“when does he go the bathroom?”) is classic – I remembered it immediately!!! Oh and “The Wakeup Fairy,” and Ramona’s desire to take on the job. Beverly Cleary does a great job of helping you remember minor details after so many years – I’m not sure how she does it, but it may just be the stories she wrote are classics! Whatever it is, I simply could not forget alot of those little details!
I love how no matter how hard Ramona tries to be a big girl and stay out of trouble, child-like temptations and excitement get the better of her. We all go through certain types of phases as we grow and face the world through what we feel are a more mature set of eyes.
In some ways, I can relate to Ramona’s wanting to grow up. When I was in elementary school (I think first grade), I brought home my reading textbook to get a paper bag cover put on it (remember those?), but read through the book on the first day. Voracious reader? You bet!
Ramona’s need to be loved by her teacher has a way of backfiring on her. Any attempt to be good is often balanced with her inability to resist anything that entices her (as I mentioned earlier, temptations). Susan Kushner’s bouncy curls (“boing!”), kissing Davy on the playground, and mud after getting shiny new rain boots – all too much for young Ramona.
I was an interesting Kindergarten student, not ill-behaved like Ramona, but definitely not the kid I became, and the adult I grew up to be. From an adult reader perspective, Ramona is your typical overly-imaginative child, and I know she is going to be ok.
Seriously, I think the one thing that actually annoyed me was the amount of times “The Kindergarten” was used in the book. They could have substituted “the class” or just thrown the word class next to “The Kindergarten” to make it sound far less repetitive.
And speaking of the aforementioned afterthought quality of Beezus, I thought the same thing with Mr. Quimby. I swear, you’d think he didn’t exist before the last chapter.
Ramona the Pest was received positively upon its release, and was felt to not be limited in age appeal. The humor and writing style (which doesn’t sound as 1950s in its tone and speech as Beezus and Ramona did) is funny and light-hearted. I think we all can see a bit of Ramona in ourselves.
From Pest to Brave…
Seven years (but only one grade later), Ramona moves on from pest to bravery. But that’s a whole other story for a whole other time. :-)