Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Ramona the Pest Audio

Ramona the Pest Audio

Beverly Cleary
For ages 8 to 10
Unabridged audiobook (CD)
Performed/read by: Stockard Channing
HarperChildren's Audio, 2010   ISBN: 978-0061774089

Ramona Quimby is very excited because at long last she is going to go to school where she will learn how to read and write. She has high expectations as she sets off for her first day in kindergarten, and is therefore a little disappointed when they don’t get down to the business of learning straight away. Still, she thinks her teacher, Miss Binney, is a wonderful person, and Susan’s “boing-boing” curls are fascinating. The song that they sing at the beginning of the day is a little confusing, and Ramona can’t help wondering what a “danwzer lee light” is. Then things start to unravel somewhat. Quite without meaning to, Ramona manages to get herself in trouble during recess and she is “benched.”

Though her first day was not what she had hoped for, Ramona expects that her second day will be much better. She is going to take her doll, Chevrolet, to class for show and tell. After watching her big sister Beezus taking things to school for show and tell for years, now Ramona is finally going to have her chance to show her classmates and her teacher how interesting she can be.

At first, Ramona’s show and tell does not go very well, but with Miss Binney’s help, Ramona is soon telling her classmates all about Chevrolet. How wonderful it is to have a teacher who truly understands how you feel.

Going to kindergarten can, for some children, be fraught with difficulties. Adults use confusing terms and words, and sometimes they just don’t understand how a little child’s mind works. Sometimes they don’t appreciate that little children have their own ways of doing things.

In this wonderful Ramona title, Beverly Cleary gives her listeners a funny and very sympathetic picture of what it is like to go to kindergarten for the first time. Actress Stockard Channing’s narrative beautifully captures Ramona’s personality and listeners will immediately feel a connection with the little girl who does not appreciate being called a “pest.”