Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Ramona's World

Ramona's World

Beverly Cleary
Illustrator:  Tracy Dockray 
Fiction  Series
For ages 8 to 10
HarperCollins, 2001   ISBN: 978-0380732722

Ramona Quimby is very excited because she is going into fourth grade. She always looks forward to the first day of school, and this year she has something special to tell all her classmates. Ramona has a new baby sister.

At first all goes well. Ramona’s new teacher, Mrs. Meachum, really seems to like Ramona’s first piece of writing, which is all about Ramona’s baby sister. Ramona is delighted when a new girl, Daisy, turns out to be very nice potential friend. Then, on the second day of school, Ramona finds out that being in fourth grade is not always “fun.” The students discover that Mrs. Meachum is a stickler for correct spelling. Ramona is appalled because she is not good at spelling. How is she ever going to survive fourth grade?

The pressures of school are not helped by the fact that Ramona is still a novice when it comes to being a big sister. Having a baby in the house changes everything, and now baby Roberta gets all the attention. Not to mention the fact that Ramona is expected to set a good example for her little sister! Perhaps if Ramona was allowed to babysit she would feel better about the whole thing, but Mrs. Quimby does not think that Ramona is ready for that much responsibility. Of course, Ramona’s big sister Beezus is allowed to babysit, and she gets paid too. How unfair is that?

The one thing that seems to be going right in Ramona’s life is her friendship with Daisy. Daisy is a wonderful girl, and Ramona likes her family as well, including Daisy’s cat Clawed and her dog Mutley. For the first time in her life Ramona has a girl best friend, and she is delighted.

In this wonderful, and alas final, Ramona story we see how one of the world’s most beloved girl book characters negotiates the trials that come with being a fourth grader. We see how she discovers that being a big sister is not easy, but it is rewarding. Ramona even begins to realize that perhaps she is too old to have tantrums. Could it be that Ramona, famous for being a pest, is starting to grow up?

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