Ramona Quimby, Age 8

( 256 )

Overview

Everything depends on Ramona.

Ramona's job is to be nice to fussy Mrs. Kemp, who watches her while her mother works. If Mrs. Quimby didn't work, Mr. Quimby couldn't return to college. On top of all that, third grade isn't turning out as Ramona expected. Danny the Yard Ape teases her and, on one horrible day, she throws up—at school. Being eight isn't easy, but it's never dull!

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Ramona Quimby, Age 8

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Overview

Everything depends on Ramona.

Ramona's job is to be nice to fussy Mrs. Kemp, who watches her while her mother works. If Mrs. Quimby didn't work, Mr. Quimby couldn't return to college. On top of all that, third grade isn't turning out as Ramona expected. Danny the Yard Ape teases her and, on one horrible day, she throws up—at school. Being eight isn't easy, but it's never dull!

The further adventures of the Quimby family as Ramona enters the third grade.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Laura Ruttig
Dockray's charming illustrations update the look of this classic Newbery Honor book from Cleary. In this adventure, Ramona enters third grade, just as her older sister Beatrice (Beezus) begins junior high, and her father returns to college to become a teacher himself. Ramona's irrepressible personality turns the everyday events of her life into escapades of dramatic proportions. Giving a book report to her class becomes a choreographed version of a TV commercial, and eating lunch in the school cafeteria turns into a dangerous event, when her mother accidentally sends a raw egg rather than a hardboiled one in Ramona's lunch. Overhearing her teacher call her a nuisance leads Ramona to soul searching, as she tries to reconcile her teacher's words with her own opinion of herself. Kids may easily identify with Ramona's difficulties, as Cleary depicts this "typical" white American middle-class family with warmth and interest. Cleary tackles the difficult issue of describing a happy family with grace; the Quimby family is far from perfect, and although not poverty-stricken, they are also far from rich. Part of the "Ramona" series.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780380709564
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 10/28/1992
  • Series: Ramona Series
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 208
  • Sales rank: 44,142
  • Age range: 9 - 11 Years
  • Lexile: 860L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.18 (w) x 8.56 (h) x 0.46 (d)

Meet the Author

Beverly Cleary

Beverly Cleary is one of America's most popular authors. Born in McMinnville, Oregon, she lived on a farm in Yamhill until she was six and then moved to Portland. After college, as the children's librarian in Yakima, Washington, she was challenged to find stories for non-readers. She wrote her first book, Henry Huggins, inresponse to a boy's question, "Where are the books about kids like us?"

Mrs. Cleary's books have earned her many prestigious awards, including the Amercan Library Association's Laura Ingalls Wilder Award, presented in recognition of her lasting contribution to children's literature.

Her Dear Mr. Henshaw was awarded the 1984 John Newbery Medal, and both Ramona Quimby, Age 8 and Ramona and Her Father have been named Newbery Honor Books. In addition, her books have won more than thirty-five statewide awards based on the votes of her young readers. Her characters, including Henry Huggins, Ellen Tebbits, Otis Spofford, and Beezus and Ramona Quimby, as well as Ribsy, Socks, and Ralph S. Mouse, have delighted children for generations. Mrs. Cleary lives in coastal California.

Jaqueline Rogers has been a professional children's book illustrator for more than twenty years and has worked on nearly one hundred children's books.

Biography

Beverly Cleary was inadvertently doing market research for her books before she wrote them, as a young children’s librarian in Yakima, Washington. Cleary heard a lot about what kids were and weren’t responding to in literature, and she thought of her library patrons when she later sat down to write her first book.

Henry Huggins, published in 1950, was an effort to represent kids like the ones in Yakima and like the ones in her childhood neighborhood in Oregon. The bunch from Klickitat Street live in modest houses in a quiet neighborhood, but they’re busy: busy with rambunctious dogs (one Ribsy, to be precise), paper routes, robot building, school, bicycle acquisitions, and other projects. Cleary was particularly sensitive to the boys from her library days who complained that they could find nothing of interest to read – and Ralph and the Motorcycle was inspired by her son, who in fourth grade said he wanted to read about motorcycles. Fifteen years after her Henry books, Cleary would concoct the delightful story of a boy who teaches Ralph to ride his red toy motorcycle.

Cleary’s best known character, however, is a girl: Ramona Quimby, the sometimes difficult but always entertaining little sister whom Cleary follows from kindergarten to fourth grade in a series of books. Ramona is a Henry Huggins neighbor who, with her sister, got her first proper introduction in Beezus and Ramona, adding a dimension of sibling dynamics to the adventures on Klickitat Street. Cleary’s stories, so simple and so true, deftly portrayed the exasperation and exuberance of being a kid. Finally, an author seemed to understand perfectly about bossy/pesty siblings, unfair teachers, playmate politics, the joys of clubhouses and the perils of sub-mattress monsters.

Cleary is one of the rare children’s authors who has been able to engage both boys and girls on their own terms, mostly through either Henry Huggins or Ramona and Beezus. She has not limited herself to those characters, though. In 1983, she won the Newbery Medal with Dear Mr. Henshaw, the story of a boy coping with his parents’ divorce, as told through his journal entries and correspondence with his favorite author. She has also written a few books for older girls (Fifteen, The Luckiest Girl, Sister of the Bride, and Jean and Johnny) mostly focusing on first love and family relationships. A set of books for beginning readers stars four-year-old twins Jimmy and Janet.

Some of Cleary’s books – particularly her titles for young adults – may seem somewhat alien to kids whose daily lives don’t feature soda fountains, bottles of ink, or even learning cursive. Still, the author’s stories and characters stand the test of time; and she nails the basic concerns of childhood and adolescence. Her books (particularly the more modern Ramona series, which touches on the repercussions of a father’s job loss and a mother’s return to work) remain relevant classics.

Cleary has said in an essay that she wrote her two autobiographical books, A Girl from Yamhill and My Own Two Feet, "because I wanted to tell young readers what life was like in safer, simpler, less-prosperous times, so different from today." She has conveyed that safer, simpler era -- still fraught with its own timeless concerns -- to children in her fiction as well, more than half a century after her first books were released.

Good To Know

Word processing is not Cleary's style. She writes, "I write in longhand on yellow legal pads. Some pages turn out right the first time (hooray!), some pages I revise once or twice and some I revise half-a-dozen times. I then attack my enemy the typewriter and produce a badly typed manuscript which I take to a typist whose fingers somehow hit the right keys. No, I do not use a computer. Everybody asks."

Cleary usually starts her books on January 2.

Up until she was six, Cleary lived in Yamhill, Oregon -- a town so small it had no library. Cleary's mother took up the job of librarian, asking for books to be sent from the state branch and lending them out from a lodge room over a bank. It was, Clearly remembers, "a dingy room filled with shabby leather-covered chairs and smelling of stale cigar smoke. The books were shelved in a donated china cabinet. It was there I made the most magical discovery: There were books written especially for children!"

Cleary authored a series of tie-in books in the early 1960s for classic TV show Leave It to Beaver.

Cleary's books appear in over 20 countries in 14 languages.

Cleary's book The Luckiest Girl is based in part on her own young adulthood, when a cousin of her mother's offered to take Beverly for the summer and have her attend Chaffey Junior College in Ontario, California. Cleary went from there to the University of California at Berkeley.

The actress Sarah Polley got her start playing Ramona in the late ‘80s TV series. Says Cleary in a Q & A on her web site: “I won’t let go of the rights for television productions unless I have script approval. There have been companies that have wanted the movie rights to Ramona, but they won’t let me have script approval, and so I say no. I did have script approval for the television productions of the Ramona series…. I thought Sarah Polley was a good little actress, a real little professional.”

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    1. Also Known As:
      Beverly Atlee Bunn (birth name)
    2. Hometown:
      Carmel, California
    1. Date of Birth:
      April 12, 1916
    2. Place of Birth:
      McMinnville, Oregon
    1. Education:
      B.A., University of California-Berkeley, 1938; B.A. in librarianship, University of Washington (Seattle), 1939

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

The First Day of School

Ramona Quimby hoped her parents would forget to give her a little talking-to. She did not want anything to spoil this exciting day.

"Ha-ha, I get to ride the bus to school all by myself," Ramona bragged to her big sister, Beatrice, at breakfast. Her stomach felt quivery with excitement at the day ahead, a day that would begin with a bus ride just the right length to make her feel a long way from home but not long enough—she hoped—to make her feel carsick. Ramona was going to ride the bus, because changes had been made in the schools in the Quimbys' part of the city during the summer. Glenwood, the girls' old school, had become an intermediate school, which meant Ramona had to go to Cedarhurst Primary School.

"Ha-ha yourself." Beezus was too excited to be annoyed with her little sister. "Today I start high school."

"Junior high school," corrected Ramona, who was not going to let her sister get away with acting older than she really was. "Rosemont junior High School is not the same as high school, and besides you have to walk."

Ramona had reached the age of demanding accuracy from everyone, even herself. All summer, whenever a grown-up asked what grade she was in, she felt as if she were fibbing when she answered, "third," because she bad not actually started the third grade. Still, she could not say she was in the second grade since she had finished that grade last June. Grown-ups did not understand that summers were free from grades.

"Ha-ha to both of you," said Mr. Quimby, as he carried his breakfast dishes into the kitchen. "You're not the only ones going toschool today." Yesterday had been his last day working at the check-out counter of the Shop-Rite Market. Today he was returning to college to become what he called "a real, live school teacher." He was also going to work one day a week in the frozen-food warehouse of the chain of Shop-Rite Markets to help the family "squeak by,"as the grown-ups put it, until he finished his schooling.

"Ha-ha to all of you if you don't hurry up," said Mrs. Quimby, as she swished suds in the dishpan. She stood back from the sink so she would not spatter the white uniform she wore in the doctor's office where she worked as a receptionist.

"Daddy, will you have to do homework?" Ramona wiped off her milk moustache and gathered up her dishes.

"That's right." Mr. Quimby flicked a dish towel at Ramona as she passed him. She giggled and dodged, happy because he was happy.

Never again would he stand all day at a cash register, ringing up groceries for a long line of people who were always in a hurry.

Ramona slid her plate into the dishwater. "And will Mother have to sign your progress reports?"

Mrs. Quimby laughed. "I hope so."

Beezuswas last to bring her dishes into the kitchen. "Daddy, what do you have to study to learn to be a teacher?" she asked.

Ramona had been wondering the same thing. Her father knew how to read and do arithmetic. He also knew about Oregon pioneers and about two pints making one quart.

Mr. Quimby wiped a plate and stacked it in the cupboard. "I'm taking an art course, because I want to teach art. And I'll study child development.

Ramona interrupted. "What's child development?"

"How kids grow," answered her father.

Why does anyone have to go to school to study a thing like that? wondered Ramona. All her life she had been told that the way to grow was to eat good food, usually food she did not like, and get plenty of sleep, usually when she had more interesting things to do than go to bed.

Mrs. Quimby hung up the dishcloth, scooped up Picky-picky, the Quimbys' old yellow cat, and dropped him at the top of the basement steps. "Scat, all of you," she said, "or you'll be late for school."

After the family's rush to brush teeth, Mr. Quimby said to his daughters, "Hold out your hands," and into each waiting pair he dropped a new pink eraser. "Just for luck," he said, "not because I expect you to make mistakes."

"Thank you,"said the girls. Even a small present was appreciated, because presents of any kind had been scarce while the family tried to save money so Mr. Quimby could return to school. Ramona, who liked to draw as much as her father, especially treasured the new eraser, smooth, pearly pink, smelling softly of rubber, and just right for erasing pencil lines.

Mrs. Quimby handed each member of her family a lunch, two in paper bags and one in a lunch box for Ramona. "Now, Ramona—" she began.

Ramona sighed. Here it was, that little talking-to she always dreaded.

"Please remember , said her mother, "you really must be nice to Willa Jean."

Ramona made a face. I try, but it's awfully hard."

Being nice to Willa Jean was the part of Ramona's life that was not changing, the part she wished would change. Every day after school she had to go to her friend Howie Kemp's house, where her parents paid Howie's grandmother to look after her until one of them could come for her. Both of Howie's parents, too, went off to work each day.

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Reading Group Guide

Ramona Quimby, Age 8

By Beverly Cleary

Introduction:

Ramona likes being big enough to be counted on, but must everything depend on her? If Mrs. Kemp didn't look after Ramona, her mother couldn't work full-time. If Ramona's mother didn't work, her father couldn't return to college. Ramona does get to ride the school bus by herself this year. And despite teasing from Danny the Yard Ape, she's determined to enjoy the third grade; her new teacher, Mrs. Whaley; and learning to read and write. If only Mother would not remind Ramona each morning to be nice to Willa Jean Kemp. If only her parents wouldn't quarrel at home. If only Ramona didn't get sick one horrible day and throw up—at school. But being a patient has its advantages. Even book reports and rainy Sundays have a bright side. In Ramona's world, being eight isn't easy, but it's never dull.

Discussion Questions:

  1. Why is it so hard for Ramona to be nice to Howie Kemp's four-year-old sister Willa Jean? Why does Ramona's mother say that getting along at the Kemps' is Ramona's job in the family?
  2. How does Ramona manage to deal with Danny, a boy on her school bus, when he calls her Bigfoot? Why is it that, once she gets her eraser back from him, Ramona begins to sort of like him?
  3. Why does Mrs. Whaley, Ramona's third grade teacher, call Sustained Silent Reading period D.E.A.R.? Why doesn't Ramona like the name? Why is it the best part of the school day, according to Ramona and Howie? How does Ramona use Sustained Silent Reading after school to help her get along with WillaJean?
  4. Who started the hard-boiled egg fad at school? What happens when Ramona tries to follow the fad?
  5. What does Ramona overhear Mrs. Whaley saying about her and why does it hurt her feelings? Do you think Ramona is really a show-off and a nuisance?
  6. When Ramona and her older sister Beezus complain about what they are eating for dinner, Mr. Quimby decides that the two girls will make dinner the following night. Do you think this is a reasonable punishment? Were you surprised that the dinner Beezus and Ramona came up with was such a success? Would you know how to make dinner (from scratch) if your parents asked you to? What would you make?
  7. Ramona makes an effort to be less of a nuisance, but suddenly the most terrible thing happens and she becomes a "supernuisance" by throwing up at school! Then, at the risk of being a show-off, in place of a book report Ramona writes a kind of commercial to "sell" her book. It turns out Mrs. Whaley doesn't have a bad opinion of Ramona after all. Why are Ramona's teachers always so important to her?
  8. What is the "happy ending" to the day when the Quimby's go out for dinner together one dismal rainy Sunday when everyone is cross?


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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 256 )
Rating Distribution

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(161)

4 Star

(36)

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(16)

2 Star

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 257 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 11, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Ramona Strikes Again!

    I loved Beverly Cleary books when I was younger. I remember this one in particular. Ramona and smashing the egg in her hair because she thought it was hard-boiled..only it wasn't, the Yard-Ape, the umm dinner that could taste you back. I remember it being a reassurance to read about Ramona's life and to know that all of that stuff was normal. Families fought, parent's were annoying, school was tough, but in the end, everything was okay.

    I loved sharing it with my daughters this time around. My oldest is eight, which makes her a "young adult" according to her. She could totally relate with Ramona. I think the mind of an eight-year-old was clearly captured by Cleary. Ramona is a bit more trouble that my daughter, but I'm pretty sure she feels the same way, she just doesn't act on it!

    This is my first post relating to my 'official' Newbery Challenge I am hosting. Please feel free to join in! See my blog below to enter.


    Please come and visit me at my blog, Between the Lines, at www.jennifermorrill.wordpress.com. I'd love to hear from you!

    30 out of 40 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 7, 2011

    Ramona is relatable!!!!!!!

    I was 8 once and I can relate to a lot of things in this book. I was a pest to my older siblings like ramona and beezus. Ramona takes on the 3rd grade and family. The book has a good ending. I would recomend this book!

    19 out of 24 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 11, 2012

    GREAT BOOK!

    I have read this book A LOT of times and every time i love it even more than i did the last time! I LOVE beverly clearly! She is a GREAT author!

    13 out of 16 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 5, 2008

    A reviewer

    I thought that this book was just amazing. One of my favorite parts was when Ramona was sick in bed and she acually ended up doing the report. When I read about her friends being cats and about her report, it just made me laugh. If you make any more just like this book, I would just love to read it. Don't stop and keep up the good work.

    12 out of 16 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 15, 2011

    excellent book

    perfect for ages 7-9

    11 out of 17 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 11, 2012

    :)

    Cute!

    10 out of 23 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 27, 2011

    Ramona

    These books are great! I love reading them because they are so short. Short chapter books are great for ages 8 because they are just starting to read chapter books and they should start with a short, simple, easy read. All of the Ramona books are great, and the movies. I like the books better because they have more detail, but thats my opinion. I love these books and I know you will love them too. So go to the Nook Book Store and buy yourself a Ramona book and it doesnt matter which one their all good books!

    10 out of 16 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 30, 2007

    Awesome!

    I think that Ramona Quimby was the book character that I related to the most while growing up. We faced the same 'major problems' and I was able to read the funny things ahe did and said to fix her problems so that i could try to fix mine in the same way. Beverly Cleary does a wonderful job at showing her understanding of an eight year old and Ramona is the rounded character that anyone can relate to. Cleary, Beverly. Ramona Quimby, Age 8. New York: William Morrow and Company, 1981.

    10 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 15, 2012

    G

    Ramona Quimby has always been one of my favorites growing up. If you enjoy junie b jones you will enjoy this

    9 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 14, 2012

    I

    Is this good please respond

    8 out of 30 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 15, 2012

    The perfict book

    This book is absoluly perfict for me and all other second and third graders

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 1, 2012

    I read this book as a young adult and remember falling in love w

    I read this book as a young adult and remember falling in love with it and wishing it didn't end. I am hope my daughter will enjoy it just as much this summer!

    4 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 3, 2012

    Ramona age 8

    It is her best book yet

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 29, 2012

    Shes 8 and in 1st grade?

    I read it and its good but arent you supposed to be in 3rd grade when you are eight....?

    3 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 28, 2012

    Best book ever

    This is a really good book i love it it just took me a while

    3 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 24, 2012

    Anonymous

    The best you should buy it. At least get the sample before you buy it. That way you share your opinion. ! :)

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 7, 2012

    Ramona quimby age 8

    This is the best book ever made its #1

    3 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 4, 2012

    Bob

    This book is one oc the best books i have ever but it is too expensive.

    3 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 3, 2012

    Beautiful.

    This is a very heart warming family story that would most likely attract ages 6-12. Beverly cleary has once again proved herself a guenis. I compleately and very strongly recommend this book to anyone who loves adventure. Have fun reading and stay in school kids. ;)

    3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 29, 2012

    I love reading Ramona books!

    I have read this book 3 times and I love it! I think it is funny and a good book. I have read 3 Ramona books and loved them. A good book for kids who are 8!

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 257 Customer Reviews

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