Kiddo’s Corner Reviews: Ramona the Brave by Beverly Cleary
Ramona the Brave
Kiddo’s Corner Reviews is my new feature here at The Overstuffed Bookcase, where my 7-year-old son reviews children’s books! Go here to find out more.
Author: Beverly Cleary
Illustrator: Alan Tiegreen, Tracy Dockray
Series: Ramona Quimby #3
Genres: Children, Chapter Book
Source: Borrowed from the library
Buy on Amazon | Buy from Publisher
In this touching and funny story, the ebullient Ramona, feeling brave and grown-up, enters first grade. Quickly she finds that her new teacher, Mrs. Griggs, appears perplexed by pupils who like to be different. Since Ramona cannot help being different, clearly the two are incompatible.
Nevertheless, Ramona can be counted on to keep things lively. Enraged when Susan copies her wise old owl prepared for Parents' Night and receives praise for it, Ramona rebels. Overcome by guilt and no longer brave, she tries mightily thereafter to please her teacher, but still Mrs. Griggs infuriatingly reports home that Ramona lacks self-control. Only because she is a girl with "spunk," to use her father's word, does Ramona's courage return, earning her at last an uneasy truce with the teacher.
Beverly Cleary draws here a portrait of a little girl discovering with astonishment that the way others see her is not always the way she sees herself. In the contrast lie moments of emerging self-knowledge for Ramona and of delicious hilarity for the reader. (Cover and synopsis from Goodreads.)
FTC Disclaimer: We borrowed a copy of Ramona the Brave from our local library. We were in no way compensated for this review.
Me: So what’s this book about?
Kiddo: Ramona is in 1st grade. Just like I was, but now I’m in 2nd grade.
Me: Does she like 1st grade?
Kiddo: Yes. Kinda.
(I give him a surprised look.)
Kiddo: What are you giving me that look for? –Wait, I’m about to sneeze. Maybe. I don’t know.
Me: I was giving you the look because I don’t think Ramona likes 1st grade much at all.
Kiddo: Yeah, she doesn’t really like 1st grade. She throws an owl on the ground.
Me: Susan’s owl?
Me: What else tells you that she doesn’t like 1st grade?
Kiddo: People think she’s lying and she likes her Kindergarten teacher better.
A Bit More Detail…
Me: What was your favorite part?
Kiddo: When she pretends her closet is, like, an imaginary elevator.
Me: That part was pretty funny, huh?
Me: What was your least favorite part?
Kiddo: When she throws the owl on the ground. It was sad.
Me: Do you think it’s sad for Ramona or sad for Susan, or both?
Kiddo: Sad for Susan.
Me: Because it’s her owl?
Kiddo: Yeah. And she worked hard on it.
Me: You don’t think it was sad for Ramona, though?
Kiddo: Uh uh.
Me: I think it was kind of sad for Ramona, because she was really angry at Susan for copying her owl. But it wasn’t okay for her to crumple Susan’s owl.
Kiddo: Yeah. But I don’t think Ramona feels really sad for Susan, and she should.
Me: Yeah, I don’t think she does either. But it’s good that you can understand and feel sad for Susan.
Me: So did you like the drawings?
Me: Anything else to say?
Kiddo: We need to give it stars.
Kiddo: Well, she’s pretty bad in this book. I don’t know if I want to give it any stars.
Me: Just because she was bad doesn’t mean that you should give it zero stars. You liked this one less than the other two, right? You could give it, like, 40 stars? 30?
Kiddo: Mmmm. 80.
Me: 80? But that’s more than you gave the other two.
Kiddo: I know. I liked this one better.
Kiddo: Mmm hmm.
Me: Okay, so 80 stars?
I love reading these Ramona Quimby books to the Kiddo. They’re set in a completely different time, so sometimes I have to explain some things to him, but I think the basic themes in the books are universal. The Kiddo gives Ramona the Brave by Beverly Cleary 80 stars, and I’m going to convert that to 4 stars on my 1-5 star system. And if you enjoyed our previous Kiddo’s Corner Reviews video review, don’t worry! We’ll be back with more soon!