Ramona the Pestby Beverly Cleary, Stockard Channing
Ramona is off to kindergarten, and it's the greatest day of her life. So why is she sitting on the bench while the rest of the students play the game gray duck? Laughs and minor upsets abound in an enormously popular story starring the one and only Ramona Quimby! See more details below
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Ramona is off to kindergarten, and it's the greatest day of her life. So why is she sitting on the bench while the rest of the students play the game gray duck? Laughs and minor upsets abound in an enormously popular story starring the one and only Ramona Quimby!
Read an Excerpt
Ramona's Great Day
"I am not a pest," Ramona Quimby told her big sister Beezus.
"Then stop acting like a pest," said Beezus, whose real name was Beatrice. She was standing by the front window waiting for her friend Mary Jane to walk to school with her.
"I'm not acting like a pest. I'm singing and skipping," said Ramona, who had only recently learned to skip with both feet. Ramona did not think she was a pest. No matter what others said, she never thought she was a pest. The people who called her a pest were always bigger and so they could be unfair.
Ramona went on with her singing and skipping. "This is a great day, a great day, a great day!" she sang, and to Ramona, who was feeling grown-up in a dress instead of play clothes, this was a great day, the greatest day of her whole life. No longer would she have to sit on her tricycle watching Beezus and Henry Huggins and the rest of the boys and girls in the neighborhood go off to school. Today she was going to school, too. Today she was going to learn to read and write and do all the things that would help her catch up with Beezus.
"Come on, Mama!" urged Ramona, pausing in her singing and skipping. "We don't want to be late for school."
"Don't pester, Ramona,"' said Mrs. Quimby. "I'll get you there in plenty of time."
"I'm not pestering," protested Ramona, who never meant to pester. She was not a slow poke grownup. She was a girl who could not wait. Life was so interesting she had to find out what happened next.
Then Mary Jane arrived. "Mrs. Quimby, would it be all right if Beezus and I take Ramona to kindergarten?" she asked.
"No!" said Ramona instantly. Mary Jane was one of those girls who always wanted to pretend she was a mother and who always wanted Ramona to be the baby. Nobody was going to catch Ramona being a baby on her first day of school.
"Why not?" Mrs. Quimby asked Ramona. "You could walk to school with Beezus and Mary Jane just like a big girl."
"No, I couldn't." Ramona was not fooled for an instant. Mary Jane would talk in that silly voice she used when she was being a mother and take her by the hand and help her across the street, and everyone would think she really was a baby.
"Please, Ramona," coaxed Beezus. "It would be lots of fun to take you in and introduce you to the kindergarten teacher."
"No!" said Ramona, and stamped her foot. Beezus and Mary Jane might have fun, but she wouldn't. Nobody but a genuine grownup was going to take her to school. If she had to, she would make a great big noisy fuss, and when Ramona made a great big noisy fuss, she usually got her own way. Great big noisy fusses were often necessary when a girl was the youngest member of the family and the youngest person on her block.
"All right, Ramona," said Mrs. Quimby.
"Don't make a great big noisy fuss.If that's the way you feel about it, you don't have to walk with the girls. I'll take you.
"Hurry, Mama," said Ramona happily, as she watched Beezus and Mary Jane go out the door.But when Ramona finally got her mother out of the house, she was disappointed to see one of her mother's friends, Mrs. Kemp, approaching with her son Howie and his little sister Willa Jean, who was riding in a stroller. "Hurry, Mama," urged Ramona, not wanting to wait for the Kemps. Because their mothers were friends, she and Howie were expected to get along with one another.
"Hi, there!" Mrs. Kemp called out, so of course Ramona's mother had to wait.
Howie stared at Ramona. He did not like having to get along with her any more than she liked having to get along with him.
Ramona stared back. Howie was a solid-looking boy with curly blond hair. ("Such a waste on a boy," his mother often remarked.)The legs of his new jeans were turned up, and he was wearing a new shirt with long sleeves.
He did not look the least bit excited about starting kindergarten. That was the trouble with Howie, Ramona felt. He never got excited. Straight-haired Willa Jean, who was interesting to Ramona because she was so sloppy, blew out a mouthful of wet zwieback crumbs and laughed at her cleverness.
"Today my baby leaves me," remarked Mrs. Quimby with a smile, as the little group proceeded down Klickitat Street toward Glenwood School.
Ramona, who enjoyed being her mother's baby, did not enjoy being called her mother's baby, especially in front of Howie.
"They grow up quickly," observed Mrs. Kemp.
Ramona could not understand why grownups always talked about how quickly children grew up. Ramona thought growing up was the slowest thing there was, slower even than waiting for Christmas to come. She had been waiting years just to get to kindergarten, and the last half hour was the slowest part of all.
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