On a whim, I recently bought Beezus and Ramona to read aloud with Linnea. I wasn’t sure if she’d go for it, especially since the pictures are few and far between, but I’m thrilled to report that she’s been loving it! We have just one chapter to go–the one about Beezus’ birthday party. Then I think we’ll go ahead with Ramona the Pest.
I’m so excited to share these books with her, because I loved them so much as a child. In fact, some of my own youthful shenanigans were modeled after Ramona’s actions. I once took one bite out of every apple, as Ramona did in Beezus and Ramona. The most infamous incident in our family, though, came after I read Ramona and Her Mother. There’s a scene where Ramona threatens to run away from home, and her mother agrees to help her pack. The whole time Ramona is upset that her mom is actually helping her leave, but then, when the bag is ready, Ramona realizes the suitcase was too heavy for her to carry. Well, I was fascinated by this and decide to conduct a little experiment on my own. So early one morning I convinced my younger sister–who was probably all of 3 or 4 at the time–that she should run away and I would help her pack. Unfortunately, we didn’t get her bag quite heavy enough to prevent her leaving, and my mother suddenly looked out the window to see her baby walking toward the driveway in her nightgown.
One thing I’m disappointed about is that they’ve updated the illustrations. As a child, I loved the drawings by Louis Darling and Alan Tiegreen–the image of Aunt Beatrice waltzing in with a birthday cake to save the day, Ellen Tebbits in her perfectly sewn monkey dress, and Ramona and her pixie haircut. In my opinion, part of the charm is seeing how the characters were envisioned at the time the books were written. I mean, it was a time when $2.50 was a lot of money and the girls’ mother put her hair in pin curls. But otherwise, it’s been a wonderful experience to reread these books, and I can’t wait to introduce my little guys to more of my favorite children’s novels.