For the 2021 Back to the Classics Category - choose a children's classic I wanted to go with Henry Huggins by Beverly Cleary but I got halfway through the book and I wasn't getting into it so I decided to try out Beverly Cleary's Ramona series instead. I went with Beezsus and Ramona published 1955, the first book in the series, and I am glad I did.
Beezus is 9 year old Beatrice Quimbey. She is a thoughtful and intelligent young girl. Helps her Mom out with the chores which mainly involves looking after her younger sister Ramona. It's a full time job because four year old Ramona is a little terror peddling around on her tricycle figuring out new ways to get into mischief. The kind of little kid who doesn't understand the word no.
The story begins with Ramona pestering Beezus to read to her from her favorite book The Little Steam Shovel. Ramona never tires of having the book read to her and her family is at their wits' end. Beezus comes up with a solution. She'll take Ramona to the library to pick out a new book and hopefully take her mind off The Little Steam Shovel. And best of all Ramona will not be able to get too attached to the new book because it will have to be returned to the library in two weeks. This works about as well as one might expect with Ramona who loves the new book, Big Steve the Steam Shovel (a sequel) and decides it's not going back to the library.
Beezus and Ramona is not very long. Six chapters in total each dealing with a different Ramona escapade and I had a smile on my face throughout. Some might say Ramona is a bit of a brat who will not accept being told she can't have everything her own way but I found her adorable. She is only four and she very often does get her own way. I liked Beezus as well, a very patient older sister.
I can see why the Ramona series of children's books has been so popular for decades. Mothers read it when they were young and gave it to their daughters to read who are now giving it to their daughters. It's also a good series for girls with little sisters.
Beverly Cleary passed away this year at age 104. She started out as a librarian back in the 1940's and was inspired to begin her writing career when a young boy asked her if there were any books "about kids like us". Today 91 million copies of Beverly Cleary's books have been sold worldwide and she has won multiple awards in the category of children's literature. I never did get to read Beverly Cleary when I was a kid and so I am grateful to the Classics Challenge for once again giving me the push I needed.