Thursday, May 20, 2010

Reading Ramona Take 4

Book 4: Ramona and Her Father
First published in 1975, illustrated by Alan Tiegreen
186 pages, 7 chapters (New York: Scholastic)
Awards: Newbery Honor Book, Notable Children's Book

Happily making out her Christmas list in September, Ramona isn't prepared for the disaster that befalls her family. Her father loses his job. Ramona crosses off most of the items on her Christmas list and adds "one happy family." Can the Quimbys survive Mr. Q's unemployment?

I can totally see why this book was chosen as a Newbery Honor Book. The issues it deals with (unemployment, a mother working full time, a father seeking employment, the fear of the children) are important and need to be addressed. How the Quimby family deals with their situation is great. They meet it head on. This book could be sad and depressing, but it isn't. The moments of humor are perfect (the cat's attack on the pumpkin, Ramona's crown of burs). I love that Ramona learns that happy can mean a lot of things.

Loved Ramona's relationship with her father. Mr. Q is the kind of father any girl would want. He understands things that most fathers ignore (the fads at school for one--the gummy bear fad reminds me of the pickled limes in Little Women). Ramona's crusade against her father's smoking habit shows how much she loves him.

Favorite Quotes:
"Ramona's imagination was excited" (112) [Re: the longest picture in the world]

"'No family is perfect. Get that idea out of your head. And nobody is perfect either. All we can do is work at it. And we do'" (158). [Mr. Q to Ramona]

Favorite Illustration: Ramona sitting beside her father looking content (page 159)

Activities from Ramona and Her Father:
Crowns (out of less prickly materials than burs)
The longest picture in the world
Jack-o-lantern designing
Tin can stilts

Up next, Book 5: Ramona and Her Mother. Nine (9) more weeks until Ramona & Beezus the movie is in theaters. Are you excited? I sure am!

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