Ramona Quimby, Age 8 Teacher Guide

Overview

Ramona Quimby, one of the most loved characters in children's fiction, has now reached third grade. At school, she acquires a new teacher, Mrs. Whaley, who addresses the class as "you guys." At home, she helps the family "squeak by" as her father returns to college to become an art teacher.

All the Quimbys have their ups and downs, but none feels them more intensely than Ramona. Her low point is undoubtedly reached the day she throws up in class and Mrs. Whaley instructs the ...

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Former Library book. Shows some signs of wear, and may have some markings on the inside. 100% Money Back Guarantee. Shipped to over one million happy customers. Your purchase ... benefits world literacy! Read more Show Less

Ships from: Mishawaka, IN

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Overview

Ramona Quimby, one of the most loved characters in children's fiction, has now reached third grade. At school, she acquires a new teacher, Mrs. Whaley, who addresses the class as "you guys." At home, she helps the family "squeak by" as her father returns to college to become an art teacher.

All the Quimbys have their ups and downs, but none feels them more intensely than Ramona. Her low point is undoubtedly reached the day she throws up in class and Mrs. Whaley instructs the children to hold their noses and file into the hall. But three days later Ramona recovers her verve sufficiently to give a book report in the style of a T.V. commercial, bringing down the house with her final ad-lib line of "I can't believe I read the whole thing!"

Writing with humor and compassion, Beverly Cleary continues her chronicle of a child's growth and lovingly reaffirms the durability of the memorable Quimby family. They may not be nice all the time, but they stick together through good times and bad.

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: 9781561374489
  • Publisher: Novel Units, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 2/1/1999
  • Series: Ramona Series
  • Age range: 8 - 10 Years

Meet the Author

Beverly Cleary

Beverly Cleary was born in McMinnville, Oregon, and, until she was old enough to attend school, lived on a farm in Yamhill, a town so small it had no library. Her mother arranged with the State Library to have books sent to Yamhill and acted as librarian in a lodge room upstairs over a bank. There young Beverly learned to love books. However, when the family moved to Portland, Beverly soon found herself in the grammar school's low reading circle, an experience that has given her sympathy for the problems of struggling readers.

By the third grade she had conquered reading and spent much of her childhood either with books or on her way to and from the public library. Before long her school librarian was suggesting that she should write for boys and girls when she grew up. The idea appealed to her, and she decided that someday she would write the books she longed to read but was unable to find on the library shelves, funny stories about her neighborhood and the sort of children she knew. And so Ramona Quimby, Henry Huggins, Ellen Tebbits, and her other beloved characters were born.

When children ask Mrs. Cleary where she finds her ideas, she replies, "From my own experience and from the world around me." She included a passage about the D.E.A.R. program in Ramona Quimby, Age 8 (second chapter) because she was inspired by letters she received from children who participated in "Drop Everything and Read" activities. Their interest and enthusiasm encouraged her to provide the same experience to Ramona, who enjoys D.E.A.R. time with the rest of her class.

Mrs. Cleary's books have earned her many prestigious awards, including the 2003 National Medal of Art from the NationalEndowment of the Arts and the 1984 John Newbery Medal for Dear Mr. Henshaw. Her Ramona and Her Father and Ramona Quimby, Age 8 were named 1978 and 1982 Newbery Honor Books, respectively.

Among Mrs. Cleary's other awards are the American Library Association's 1975 Laura Ingalls Wilder Award, the Catholic Library Association's 1980 Regina Medal, and the University of Southern Mississippi's 1982 Silver Medallion, all presented in recognition of her lasting contribution to children's literature. In addition, Mrs. Cleary was the 1984 United States author nominee for the Hans Christian Andersen Award, a prestigious international award.

Equally important are the more than 35 statewide awards Mrs. Cleary's books have received based on the direct votes of her young readers. In 2000, to honor her invaluable contributions to children's literature, Beverly Cleary was named a "Living Legend" by the Library of Congress. This witty and warm author is truly an international favorite. Mrs. Cleary's books appear in over twenty countries in fourteen languages and 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. And her popularity has not diminished. HarperCollins Children's Books recently announced that the film option for Cleary's classic book character, Ramona Quimby, had been sold to Fox 2000 and Denise DiNovi Productions. In addition, Portland, Oregon has proudly created The Beverly Cleary Sculpture Garden for Children featuring bronze statues of Ramona Quimby, Henry Huggins, and Ribsy, in the park where Beverly used to play.

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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