If you want to follow along, check out my Battle of the Books post and read with us! If you happen to be homeschooling a fourth or fifth grader, it's a fun little reading activity to do with them as well.
Ramona Quimby, Age 8 - Beverly Cleary
Mr. Quimby's going to college, Mrs. Quimby's going to work. Now that Ramona is eight, she can go to a new school with a new teacher and ride the bus all by herself. But after school she has to stay with Grandmother Kemp and be nice to that bratty little Willa Jean until Beezus (who's tempermental enough to ruin anyone's day)comes to take her home. Life isn't as easy for Ramona as it used to be. All the Quimbys have to adjust, and Ramona gets her chance to prove that she's "big enough for her family to depend on."
When I was little, I really connected with Ramona because I kind of understood her. I wanted to do this perfectly, just like she did. Unlike her, I was the oldest and my brother was two years younger than me, but I really understood Ramona's role in the family. My mom was a single mom for years and then she met my step dad but even still, we weren't well off and my mom worked a lot. In order for her to work that much, it was understood that we really had to be good for our uncles (who babysat us) and we were expected to take care of things because my mom didn't have time to do them. A lot of sacrifices were made with the understanding that that was just how it was going to be. It's not fun, but there wasn't another choice.
In this book Ramona has had to move to a new school (totally could relate, I had gone to six different schools from Kindergarten through graduation) and she struggles with fitting in at school and then having to deal with an annoying toddler after school. She really dislikes going to Grandmother Kemp's house after school, but as she's reminded time and time again, she just has to be good and get along with Willa Jean because her parents need her to continue going there so they can work and go to school. The family struggles financially, and Ramona worries if she's doing good enough so she doesn't add stress to her parents. She silently struggles with a mean boy at school and worries her teacher thinks she's a nuisance. It's everything an eight year old struggles with as they learn how to get about in the world.
I loved it as a kid, and I loved it again as an adult. Even though, as an adult, I find Ramona to be kind of annoying. She's a watered down version of modern day Junie B. Jones (which I cannot stand, there- I said it). The book itself was a fast read (for me) and it comes in at just under 200 pages. It's a great chapter book for kids third-fifth grade ideally, maybe even a few advanced second graders. The concepts are easy to follow and the story structure itself is easy to read. Honestly, every eight year old girl should get this for her birthday. It's like a rite of passage, really.
The next book I'm reading for Battle is The Witch of Blackbird Pond, which I said I would read before this but Olivia borrowed this from the public library and I had to get it back by Saturday. I remember reading The Witch of Blackbird Pond in fourth grade, so we'll see how much of the story I remember! Don't forget to follow me on Bloglovin' if you want to stay current with my Battle of the Books journey, as well as my other book reviews!