(from eight books by the wonderful Beverly Cleary)..........
“She was not a slowpoke grownup. She was a girl who could not wait. Life was so interesting she had to find out what happened next.”
“Didn't the people who made those license plates care about little girls named Ramona?”
"Oh say can you see/ By the dawnzer lee light"
I loved Ramona when I was a kid, but found a renewed appreciation for her when my Sophia was in Kindergarten with a 5th grade reading level and nothing appropriate to read. Ramona to the rescue!
She is the kind of kid I wanted to be friends with. She makes her Qs into cats, she is fierce and proud and tries her hardest. She is convinced that a lamp is a "dawnzer" and it gives a "lee light". She is not above boinging a classmate's perfect, perfect curls. And, like I was, she is not squeamish about worms, and declares one is an engagement ring from her sister Beezus's classmate, Henry Huggins.
A word about the hairstyle choice: I desperately wanted to give her the "pixie cut" she gets at the teaching salon. Her sister Beezus saves up money to get what she thinks will be a glamorous and sophisticated cut and instead gets "40-year-old hair" (ouch) while a student asks to try out a new style on Ramona who walks away with a pixie cut that suits her perfectly. In my mind, this was actually a wedge cut like Dorothy Hamill had in the olympics, not a pixie cut. But either way.... my Ramona with short hair looked like an old man. (Ask my kids, they all laughed at me. Seriously, they did.) I went back to the traditional Louis Darling illustrations of Ramona, with her short bob, which to me are the definitive Ramona anyway. My justification for this too is that if she's holding the earthworm, that's more Ramona the Pest territory and not Ramona and Her Mother.
I want to note also that Beverly Cleary just turned 100 and we spent the day appropriately reading her work. Long may she live.