Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Ramona's World

Cleary, Beverly. 1999. Ramona's World.

Ramona's World is the final in the Ramona series. In our last encounter with Ramona, Ramona Forever, her sister, Roberta Day Quimby, is born. Ramona's World opens several months later. Ramona is starting fourth grade. And she's relatively optimistic. She loves being a big sister (most of the time). In the first chapter we read, "She was often excited. She liked to be excited." Isn't that a great description? It does describe Ramona. But it also describes me. I knew there was a reason Ramona and I were such good friends.

In Ramona's World, Ramona gets a best friend. A girl best friend, Daisy. She also has more than a few battles over the evil that is spelling. Ramona has never liked to spell. But it comes to a head in Ramona's World. Spelling threatens to ruin her happiness, unless she finds a way to conquer it once and for all.

I love this quote: "All this made Ramona feel surrounded by words. There were words every place she looked in books and newspapers, on signs and television, on cereal boxes and milk cartons. The world, Ramona decided, was full of people who used their dictionary skills and probably weren't any fun."

There are quite a few things I could highlight from Ramona's World. Elements I loved or found charming. But I think one of my favorite recurring elements are about Mrs. Quimby and her book club. Now that she's back at home, Mrs. Quimby wants to join a book club and stimulate her mind. The first book that the club chooses is Moby Dick. Every now and then, Ramona has some key insight into her mother and her mother's club. It is just really fun.

Example 1: Ramona picked up her mother's book. Moby Dick. "What's this about?" she asked.
"A whale that bit off a man's leg," said Mrs. Quimby. "Our book club decided to read a book we had all heard about all our lives but had never actually read."
"Sounds exciting." Ramona opened the book, which turned out not to look exciting at all. The print was small, the lines were close together, and there were almost no quotation marks. She closed the book. She liked her own writing better. (22)

Example 2: Mrs. Quimby found more time to read Moby Dick, a book with so many pages that members of the book club, most of them mothers or women who worked outside their homes or both, had difficulty finishing it. They postponed their meeting for another month. Ramona wondered why they didn't just skip the hard parts. (40)

© Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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