Friday, July 23, 2010

Childrens Book Reading Extravaganza 2010: Novel #89

How fitting that novel number 89 tackles the topic of family and parenthood?  (Because I am also tackling said issues...along with sleeplessness and weight loss.) (It's a real party over here.)  (Actually, I'm kind of loving the whole thing, but complaining is kind of my shtick.)

I read this novel in about two days. Again, being sleep deprived and basically without any reliable amounts of free time, that's really saying something.  So I say three cheers for Beverly Cleary.

Girlfriend is the author of novel #89 on our list of Top 100 Children's novels (which I poached from the school library journal blog), Ramona and Her Father.

Ramona and Her Father 

See that bright shiny Newberry award? Yet another sign that this is a fab choice of read aloud or independent book (It's a Level O) for your friends.  

In this book, Ramona's father loses his job (A timely topic.) which causes his family to be under a bit of a financial strain.  Throughout the story, Ramona is frustrated with her parents anxiety and irritability, wondering if there is a way that she could make a million dollars by starring in a TV commercial.  She goes through the usual Ramona antics - getting a crown of burrs stuck in her hair, getting into fights with Beezus (Seriously, Beezus?  This is the nickname you pick when your name is Beatrice??)  In the end though, her family proves to be a strong one and things work out for the best.

I appreciate Beverly Cleary's ability to create an honest portrait of a family - not too sing-songy-everything-is-wonderful-and-the-rest-of-us-want-to-punch-you-and-your-overly-positive-attitude-in-the-face and not too trying-to-be-sarcastic-in-that-way-that-makes-you-think-their-children-were-actually-an-accident.  Basically, she strikes a very realistic note that rings true despite that fact that this book was originally published in 1975.  I think your friends will totes relate to Ramona. Plus, it gives you an excuse to take a class field trip to the movies when Ramona and Beezus comes out.  Cha-ching, am I right?

Speaking of honest portrayal of families and fathers?  I saw some dude at the grocery store essentially letting his children run amok in the produce aisle.  Um, sir?  A word to the wise?  Nobody wants your children's germ encrusted hands poking at their $6.99/lb cherries.  Take a page from Ramona's father's book and reign your children in.  However, I did relish the fairly rare opportunity to shoot a teacher look that could fry ice across the aisle, causing your children to stop dead in their tracks and slowly withdraw their paws from the avocado display. 

And on that note, I'll send you off for your Friday cocktails and cheese platters.  Next week, we're onto novel #88, The High King  The High King (The Chronicles of Prydain)by Lloyd Alexander.

4 comments:

Margaret said...

I LOVE Ramona..Can you believe my husband has never heard of her???? :-)

Also, the link to the High King was to a Celtic music group, not the book...fyi.

Tracy Novick said...

Having read the entire Ramona series with more than one daughter, I'm fairly certain that Beezus is how Ramona said Beatrice when she was small. In one of the books, she bans Ramona from calling her that outside the house.

Making our first movie theater outing to the movie this weekend!

futureflstar said...

I grew up reading Ramona(as did many generations which is just neat!). I purchased the entire Ramona set for my classroom and am going to read the books, in order, after lunch each day(probably a chapter a day...but hopefully more if there is time). My son and I cannot wait to see the movie! I got him to read the first few books this summer and I'm hoping to finish them before school starts in less than a month!
Hooray for Ramona! The movie opens today too!

Mimi said...

Margaret- THANKS for catching that! I think it's fixed. It must be the heat getting to me...

Tracy - Ahhhhh...that makes so much more sense and is much more endearing.

futureflstar- talk about timing - I had not idea the movie opened today! Let me know what you thought!

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