Saturday, December 17, 2011

Ramona the Brave - Beverly Cleary

Summary:  In this touching and funny story, the ebullient Ramona, feeling brave and grown-up, enters the first grade.  Quickly she finds that her new teacher, Mrs. Griggs, appears perplexed by pupils who like to be different.  Since Ramona cannot help being different, clearly the two are incompatible.

Nevertheless, Ramona can be counted on to keep things lively.  Enraged when Susan copies her wise old owl prepared for Parents' Night and receives praise for it, Ramona rebels.  Overcome by guilt and no longer brave, she tries mightily thereafter to please her teacher, but still Mrs. Griggs infuriatingly reports home that Ramona lacks self-control.  Only because she is a girl with spunk, to use her father's word, does Ramona's courage return, earning her at last an uneasy truce with the teacher.  (Summary from book - Image from openlibrary.org)

My Review:  Ramona Quimby is having a hard time in first grade.  Mrs. Griggs isn't nearly as nice as her old teacher, Mrs. Binney.  She made Ramona apologize in front of the entire class for wrecking Susan's owl, is always telling her to keep her eyes on her own paper, and she even she said mean things about her at parent-teacher conference.  At home, Ramona's mother has gone back to work, and Ramona is going to get a new room all of her very own but is afraid to spend the night there by herself.  First grade is tough, but Ramona is determined to be brave. 

Of the three Ramona books we've read so far (Ramona the Pest, Ramona Quimby, Age 8, and this one), Ramona the Brave is my least favorite.  Oh, it was alright and had some funny moments, but it felt more emotionally weighed down than the others with a lot of Ramona feeling angry or bad about herself and doing things that were naughty.  I suppose you could argue that these emotions are realistic, especially when a young girl is trying to understand the world around her, but all I noticed was that my girls just didn't seem to enjoy it as much and weren't begging me to read it, unless you count the chapter called Ramona Says a Bad Word.  It wasn't that this book was bad, it just wasn't as interesting as Ramona Quimby, Age 8.

My Rating:  3.5 Stars

For the sensitive reader:  Don't worry, the bad word is Guts!  

Sum it up:  Not my favorite in the series, but still worth a read.

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