Ramona and Her Father
by Beverly Cleary
read March 2009
Wow. I have such clear memories of the Ramona books. When I received the copy I had put on hold at the library I felt ancient! It was SO old! If you want to start at the beginning of the Ramona series, you need to pick up Ramona the Pest, in which Ramona is 5 years-olds and in Kindergarten. In Ramona and Her Father, Ramona is in 2nd grade. I think I own a copy of Ramona Quimby, Age 8 somewhere. It might be packed away.
In this book Ramona’s father has terrible news, he has lost his job. His small company was bought by a large company and all the workers laid off. Ramona had never felt like she was missing anything, but she knew that her parents budget was tight. She had to find a way to help out.
She decides she will earn a million dollars by starring in television commercials and begins to practice. Her mother has started working full-time, her sister, Beezus is babysitting, she wants to help out too.
Ramona and her family strive to find some sort of normality in their stressed lives. Ramona lives for those moments when her family is back to normal. Mrs. Quimby isn’t tired, Mr. Quimby isn’t cross, and Beezus isn’t being difficult.
She begins to worry about her father’s smoking and launches an anti-smoking campaign to save her father’s life.
I remember Ramona’s wish to cross the bridge and have one foot in Oregon and one foot in Washington, so much so, that I remember making my parents stop and let me be in two states at once on a road trip. It must have stuck with me because somewhere I have a photo of me at Four Corners. The spot where Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado and Utah all meet up. I have one appendage in each state. Ha…that’s funny!
Through the trials her father’s unemployment puts her family in, they ultimately become closer and learn how happy they can actually be.
Ramona and Her Father received a Newberry Honor in 1978. Beverly Cleary wonderfully captures the mind of a child. My daughter could totally relate to Ramona, in a book that was written 30 years ago. Cleary also won a Newberry Honor for her work in Ramona Quimby, Age 8 in 1982.
Themes: family hardship
Setting: Modern day (1970’s/1980’s) Oregon, United States
Characters: Ramona Quimby, Mr. Quimby, Mrs. Quimby, Beezus (Beatrice) Quimby, Picky-picky, the cat, Howie
Topic- Ramona Quimby’s father has lost his job. The family all has to make changes to adjust to this change. Ramona has to learn a little about her father, and herself, to get through the situation.