Sunday, April 08, 2012


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Beezus and Ramona, Beverly Cleary, William Morrow and Company, 1955, 159 pp


Beezus and Ramona have been characters in some of Cleary's earlier books about Henry Huggins. Now they get a whole book of their own.

It is a story of a nine-year-old girl whose biggest problem is her younger sister, four-year-old Ramona. I could relate to Beezus because I had a younger sister who was quite different from Ramona but who still made me crazy sometimes.

To put it mildly, Ramona has a lot of energy, a strong will and something adults call imagination. Beezus is often called upon to watch her little sister and has to take her out in the neighborhood. She has to read to Ramona and take her to the library. She has to take her along to the recreation center, where Ramona is supposed to stay on the playground while Beezus has art class. She has to babysit her while their mother does errands. None of these things seem to go well for Beezus.

But when Ramona begins to ruin Beezus' birthday, it all becomes too much. Being a good obedient girl, Beezus finds her special day spoiled by the guilty feeling that she just does not love her little sister the way she thinks she should.

I never read this when I was nine, but I wish I had. It might have saved me hours of guilt.

(Beezus and Ramona is available on the children's shelves at Once Upon A Time Bookstore. To find it at your nearest indie bookstore click on the cover image above.)

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