Format: Paperback, 208pp
Series: Ramona Series
In this touching and funny story, the ebullient Ramona, feeling brave and grown-up, enters first grade. Quickly she finds that her new teacher, Mrs. Griggs, appears perplexed by pupils who like to be different. Since Ramona cannot help being different, clearly the two are incompatible.
Nevertheless, Ramona can be counted on to keep things lively. Enraged when Susan copies her wise old owl prepared for Parents' Night and receives praise for it, Ramona rebels. Overcome by guilt and no longer brave, she tries mightily thereafter to please her teacher, but still Mrs. Griggs infuriatingly reports home that Ramona lacks self-control. Only because she is a girl with spunk, to use her father's word, does Ramona's courage return, earning her at last an uneasy truce with the teacher.
Beverly Cleary draws here a portrait of a little girl discovering with astonishment that the way others see her is not always the way she sees herself. In the contrast lie moments of
Ramona is becoming one of my favorites. I do not recall reading any of these books when I was in elementary school, but honestly I can’t remember most of the books I read then so that doesn’t really mean all that much. Ramona is just the right age for my older two children. They are in school and can understand where she is coming from. The part in this story where she meets the dog walking to school by herself but a different way than usual really grabbed them and brought about a lot of good conversation. Some things are still the same as they were when this book was written 35 years ago and some are different. My children do not walk to school alone they take a bus and even if we were close enough to walk I would walk with them. I don’t think too many young elementary students walk alone any more but the interactions with her parents and students at school are much the same.
It was good to see someone coping with fitting in to a new classroom and getting to know a new teacher, since that was what they were both doing when we were listening to the book. As adults I think we sometimes forget how hard it can be to be a good listener and to follow directions at school all day. Ramona's stories are so fun to listen to. Now that we've read a few I would like to rent the movie again and watch it. When we saw it at the drive-in this summer I hadn't read any of them and I think we might all appreciate Ramona even more now.