Having a little sister like four-year-old Ramona isn't always easy for Beezus Quimby. With a wild imagination, disregard for order, and an appetite for chaos, Ramona makes it hard for Beezus to be the responsible older sister she knows she ought to be…especially when Ramona threatens to ruin Beezus's birthday party. Newbery Medal winner Beverly Cleary delivers a humorous tale of the ups and downs of sisterhood. Both the younger and older siblings of the family will enjoy this book.
"An important reminder of the good that can come when you throw yourself fully into any situation and draw outside the lines," says Brightly.com in their article "12 Girls from Fiction Who Are Their Own Heroes."
Supports the Common Core State Standards
Beezus and Her Little Sister
Beatrice Quimby's biggest problem was her little sister Ramona. Beatrice, or Beezus (as everyone called her, because that was what Ramona had called her when she first learned to talk), knew other nine-year-old girls who had little sisters who went to nursery school, but she did not know anyone with a little sister like Ramona.
Beezus felt that the biggest trouble with fouryear-old Ramona was that she was just plain exasperating. If Ramona drank lemonade through a straw, she blew into the straw as hard as she could to see what would happen. If she played with her finger paints in the front yard, she wiped her hands on the neighbors' cat. That was the exasperating sort of thing Ramona did. And then there was the way she behaved about her favorite book.
It all began one afternoon after school when Beezus was sitting in her father's big chair embroidering a laughing teakettle on a pot holder for one of her aunts for Christmas. She was trying to embroider this one neatly, because she planned to give it to Aunt Beatrice, who was Mother's younger sister and Beezus' most special aunt.
With gray thread Beezus carefully outlined the steam coming from the teakettle's spout and thought about her pretty young aunt, who was always so gay and so understanding. No wonder she was Mother's favorite sister. Beezus hoped to be exactly like Aunt Beatrice when she grew up. She wanted to be a fourth-grade teacher and drive a yellow convertible and live in an apartment house with an elevator and a buzzer that opened the front door. Because she was named after Aunt Beatrice, Beezus felt she might be like her in other ways, too.
While Beezus was sewing, Ramona, holding a mouth organ in her teeth, was riding around the living room on her tricycle. Since she needed both hands to steer the tricycle, she could blow in and out on only one note. This made the harmonica sound as if it were groaning oh dear, oh dear over and over again.
Beezus tried to pay no attention. She tied a small knot in the end of a piece of red thread to embroider the teakettle's laughing mouth. "Conceal a knot as you would a secret," Grandmother always said.
Inhaling and exhaling into her mouth organ, Ramona closed her eyes and tried to pedal around the coffee table without looking.
"Ramona!" cried Beezus. "Watch where you're going!"
When Ramona crashed into the coffee table, she opened her eyes again. Oh dear, oh dear, moaned the harmonica. Around and around pedaled Ramona, inhaling and exhaling.
Beezus looked up from her pot holder. "Ramona, why don't you play with Bendix for a while?" Bendix was Ramona's favorite doll. Ramona thought Bendix was the most beautiful name in the world.
Ramona took the harmonica out of her mouth. "No," she said. "Read my Scoopy book to me."
"Oh, Ramona, not Scoopy," protested Beezus. "We've read Scoopy so many times."
Instead of answering, Ramona put her harmonica between her teeth again and pedaled around the room, inhaling and exhaling. Beezus had to lift up her feet every time Ramona rode by.
The knot in Beezus' thread pulled through the material of her pot holder, and she gave up trying to conceal it as she would a secret and tied a bigger knot. Finally, tired of trying to keep her feet out of Ramona's way, she put clown her embroidery. "All right, Ramona," she said. "If I read about Scoopy, will you stop riding your tricycle around the living room and making so much noise?"
"Yes," said Ramona, and climbed off her tricycle. She ran into the bedroom she shared with Beezus and returned with a battered, dog-eared, sticky book, which she handed to Beezus. Then she climbed into the big chair beside Beezus and Waited expectantly.
Reflecting that Ramona always managed to get her own way, Beezus gingerly took the book and looked at it with a feeling of great dislike. It was called The Littlest Steam Shovel. On the cover was a picture of a steam shovel with big tears coming out of its eyes. How could a steam shovel have eyes, Beezus thought and, scarcely looking at the words, began for what seemed like the hundredth or maybe the thousandth time, "Once there was a little steam shovel named Scoopy. One day Scoopy said, 'I do not want to be a steam shovel. I want to be a bulldozer.'"
"You skipped," interrupted Ramona.
"No, I didn't," said Beezus.
"Yes you did,"insisted Ramona. "You're supposed to say, 'I want to be a big bulldozer.'"
"Oh, all right," said Beezus crossly. "'I want to be a big bulldozer.'"
Ramona smiled contentedly and Beezus continued reading. "'G-r-r-r,' said Scoopy, doing his best to sound like a bulldozer."
Beezus read on through Scoopy's failure to be a bulldozer. She read about Scoopy's wanting to be a trolley bus ("Beep-beep," honked Ramona), a locomotive ("A-hooey, a-hooey," wailed Ramona), and a pile driver ("Clunk! Clunk!" shouted Ramona). Beezus was glad when she finally reached the end of the story and Scoopy learned it was best for little steam shovels to be steam shovels. "There!" she said with relief, and closed the book. She always felt foolish trying to make noises like machinery.