Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Ramona the Brave CD

Ramona the Brave CD

Beverly Cleary
For ages 8 to 10
Unabridged audiobook (CD)
Performed/read by: Stockard Channing
HarperCollins, 2010   ISBN: 978-0061774119

Ramona thinks that the summer vacation is boring. There is nothing to do and no one to play with because everyone else is away at the beach or in the mountains. One day Ramona and her sister Beezus are squabbling when their mother announces that in the next day or so a crew of workmen will be arriving to build a new bedroom onto the house. At long last Ramona and Beezus will not have to a share a bedroom any longer, and best of all Ramona will get to use the new room first. She will get to use it for a whole six months before she has to pass it on to Beezus. Since Ramona is usually the one who gets to use things like clothes and shoes second, she is delighted to hear the news.

On the first day of first grade, Ramona can’t wait to tell her classmates about how some men came and “chopped a great big hole” in the back of her house. She expects that everyone will be very impressed, but instead they laugh. When Ramona asks her friend Howie to confirm her story, he says that she did not have a hole chopped in the side of her house! Not surprisingly, Ramona is appalled that Howie could be such a “fibber,” and she asks him why he said what he said. Being a very literal child, Howie explains that the hole was not “chopped” in the wall of the house. The men used crowbars to make the hole. Poor Ramona is furious and she feels betrayed. Unfortunately, her first grade experience goes rapidly downhill after this most unfortunate beginning. Ramona decides that her teacher, Mrs. Griggs, does not like her. Her new bedroom turns out to be scary, and everything else that could go wrong does go wrong.

Life is not easy when you feel misunderstood and sometimes scared, which is what happens to Ramona in this third title in the Ramona series. Young listeners will be able to identify with Ramona straight away when she gets angry, and when her feelings are hurt. They will feel for Ramona and sympathize with her, and they will cheer for her when the little girl who has lots of “pluck” stands up for herself.