Six year old Ramona may be young, but she prides herself on being brave. The books starts off with some older boys teasing her sister, Beezus, and Ramona stands up for her. However, Ramona does not receive the praise she feels she deserves. Beezus ends up mad at her for embarrassing her in front of the boys. The book progresses with Ramona starting first grade, and having a new teacher, Mrs. Griggs, who she feels doesn’t like her. Her classmates tease Ramona and don’t believe her when she tells about how her house has a hole in it and isn’t given the opportunity to explain how the hole will be her new room. She also has an issue with Susan, who copies off Ramona’s paper owl and she has difficulty dealing with how the students and teacher perceive her. She then destroys the classmate’s owl, and runs out of the classroom. Ramona then runs home after school to put everything behind her, but she slips on the wet sidewalk and skins her knee. Ramona’s mother calls her brave for not crying and announces that the extra bedroom is finished and that Ramona will be the first to sleep there. Ramona tries to sleep in her new room while Mr. and Mrs. Quimby go to school for parent teacher night.
She leaves a note asking her mother to come see her when she gets home. Impressed by Ramona’s note, Mrs. Quimby visits Ramona in the new bedroom. She tells Ramona that Mrs. Griggs expects her to apologize for ruining Susan’s artwork. Ramona does apologize, but she doesn’t think It’s fair. Sometimes, Ramona is scared when sleeping in the new bedroom. She fondly remembers when she and her sister shared a room and giggled together. Meanwhile Mrs. Griggs sends home progress reports, and Ramona hides hers. When Beezus presents her report at dinner, Mr. Quimby asks to see Ramona’s report. Ramona’s report is mostly positive but mentions that she needs to work on her self-control. After Ramona has a heart to heart talk with her mother,she is so confident that she walks to school by a different route and gets lost. Ramona encounters a growling dog that chases her, and to protect herself, she throws her shoe at him and he takes off with it in his mouth.
She reaches school late and worries about having only one shoe. Mrs. Griggs chooses her to lead the flag salute and Ramona stands on one foot to hide her missing shoe. Ramona makes a slipper out of paper towels because she doesn’t want to wear some lost and found boots. To Ramona’s surprise, Mrs. Griggs admires the slipper and allows her to decorate it with a bunny face. By the end of the day, the missing shoe has been brought to the principal’s office, and Ramona wears it home. I would use this book at the beginning of the year with my students. Readers of all ages can relate to Ramona because she experiences the same emotions—fears, disappointment, anger, confusion, joy—that most children experience. Ramona is not always a perfect child, which makes her a believable character.
She gets angry and frustrated, but she struggles to learn the self-control and patience her parents and teachers expect. Her desire for attention and her feelings of embarrassment and confusion cause many children to identify with her. Some of the situations in which Ramona finds herself evoke sympathy, while others make us laugh out loud. I would definitely have several discussions throughout the book with my students, and give them time to express some situations that they may have been in. Students will gain a bond with each other and the teacher in the process can learn about her students. I would also have the parents to write a short story for their children to know what they experienced as kids. The students and parents can gain an insight and build some communication and strengthen their bond.