Ramona the Pest
by Beverly Cleary [j Cleary]
When Ramona the Pest first starts, Ramona is anxious to attend kindergarten. Ramona is so excited that she is proving a pest to everyone. She is singing and dancing to her older sister's great annoyance. She's also pushing her mother to hurry, hurry, hurry! Many of Ramona's actions are understandable — when one knows her reasons behind them. For example, when her older sister and Mary Jane ask if they can walk Ramona to school, Ramona refuses because she knows full well they'll talk in a baby voice to her. And when everyone in her class takes a nap, Ramona lays down too but then starts to snore. No, she doesn't desire attention and laughs. Instead, Ramona wants to show her teacher how well she can sleep. She even has a reasonable explanation for all the black lines scribbled over her drawing of a house. You see, the house is on house. Ramona just seems like a misunderstood child. But is she? Ramona also chases a boy around the playground. When Ramona is told to sit on the bench because of her misbehavior, she actually tells the teacher: "No." Her reason? She wants to play Gray Duck. Ramona later pulls on a girl's curls — even after being ordered to stop. When told she won't be able to return to school if she can't behave, Ramona thinks about those boing curls and becomes a kindergarten dropout. Ramona definitely has issues with rules! Yet the reason I like Ramona is because she is her own person. She stands up to boys who call her "Kindergarten baby!" When learning to print letters, in what is my favorite episode of the book, Ramona decorates the first letter of her last name with cat ears and a tail. As for her defiance of the rules, in reality, Ramona was being honest to herself and her teacher. She knew that pulling Susan's curls was a huge temptation for her. And she admitted it. Because these are books by Beverly Cleary, Ramona eventually figures out a way to handle herself in school. Yet she also remains uniquely Ramona. -- review submitted by Allison H.-F. - a customer of the Bennett Martin Public Library
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