Children's, Classic Fiction, Cleary-Beverly, Family dynamics, Fiction

#602 Ramona and Her Mother by Beverly Cleary

Ramona and Her Mother by Beverly ClearyRamona and Her Mother by Beverly Cleary

Ramona has moved onto second grade. She’s growing up day by day. One of the things Ramona wishes is that people would tell her that she is her mother’s girl, like they do with Beezus, but no one ever does. Beezus sews with mother. Beezus helps her mother out in the kitchen, but Ramona doesn’t do these things with her mother. Ramona desperately wants to be her mother’s girl.

The first thing she tries is sewing with her mother. Ramona wants to sew pants for her stuffed elephant. Ramona’s mother tells her that pants for an elephant might be difficult, but Ramona says that she can do it. Needless to say, it doesn’t work out.

Ramona knows she is a big girl now, but she still gets an itch to do mischievous things, like Willa Jean, Henry’s little sister. Ramona wants to squeeze an entire tube of toothpaste out, just to see what it’s like. Also, needless to say, people aren’t happy about this. Ramona has to scrape up the entire tube of toothpaste and put it in a bag for her own personal use.

Ramona is a big girl, but she still has a lot of growing up to do.

What I liked

I had forgotten the toothpaste incident; it’s pretty great. Sometimes, when you’re a kid, you just want to do something to see what will happen. Sometimes, you do that as an adult as well. What happens if I press the button? Well, what does happen? Press the button; see what happens.

Like, when I’m in a store and there are things that make noise when you press them, I have to press them. I have to see what happens. So if you’re ever in Target and you see a grown woman pressing all the children’s toys to make them do whatever it is that they do, it’s me. Then, I will totally walk away and leave a bunch of dancing and/or singing toys going off by themselves.

What I didn’t like

I kind of wish these books were a little more real and pertinent to today. Ramona at one point has sixty-five cents… like that could actually buy anything. Back in the day when these books were published, maybe Ramona could have bought something with sixty-five cents, but not today. Five dollars is a bare-minimum sort of thing if you want a cheap snack and drink from a convenience store.

If you read between the lines, you start to get the picture of Ramona’s family. They’re poor. The dad is a college drop-out who dropped out when his wife got pregnant with Beezus, actually, we don’t even know if they were married at that point. Maybe Ramona’s mother and father weren’t married at that point and Beezus was an unplanned pregnancy, well, she definitely was an unplanned pregnancy, but maybe she was an unplanned pregnancy that caused a marriage.

Ramona is a child and is somewhat oblivious to her family’s plight, but her family is in a very real-life type of situation. Everything is not perfect in their family. They don’t have the ideal situation. I just wish all of this came out a little more in this series.


Maybe Ramona will someday be her mother’s girl.

Weigh In

Do you think Ramona becomes more aware of her family’s situation as the series progresses?

Would the series be more true-to-life if it was addressed in a more grown-up perspective?


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