Seven-year-old Ramona Quimby's world is turned upside-down when her father unexpectedly loses his job. Things grow tense in the Quimby house, but Ramona resolves to help in any way she can—even downsizing her Christmas list. But with bills piling up and her parents constantly stressed, Ramona wonders if life will ever go back to normal.
Beverly Cleary's Newbery Honor Book depicts an average middle-class family dealing with the realities of life. With the perfect mix of humor and warmth, Ramona shines as a spirited girl with her heart set on helping.
Supports the Common Core State Standards
"Ye-e-ep!" sang Ramona Quimby one warm September afternoon, as she knelt on a chair at the kitchen table to make out her Christmas list. She had enjoyed a good day in second grade, and she looked forward to working on her list. For Ramona a Christmas list was a list of presents she hoped to receive, not presents she planned to give. "Ye-e-ep!" she sang again.
"Thank goodness today is payday," remarked Mrs. Quimby, as she opened the refrigerator to see what she could find for supper.
"Ye-e-ep!" sang Ramona, as she printed mice or ginny pig on her list with purple crayon. Next to Christmas and her birthday, her father's payday was her favorite day. His payday meant treats. Her mother's payday from her part-time job in a doctor's office meant they could make payments on the bedroom the Quimbys had added to their house when Ramona was in first grade.
"What's all this yeeping about?" asked Mrs. Quimby.
"I'm making a joyful noise until the Lord like they say in Sunday school," Ramona explained. "Only they don't tell us what the joyful noise sounds like so I made up my own." Hooray and wow, joyful noises to Ramona, had not sounded right, so she had settled on yeep because it sounded happy but not rowdy. "Isn't that all right?" she asked, as she began to add myna bird that talks to her list.
"Yeep is fine if that's the way you feel about it," reassured Mrs. Quimby.
Ramona printed coocoo clock on her list while she wondered what the treat would be this payday. Maybe, since this was Friday, they could all go to a movie if her parents could find one suitable. Both Ramona and her big sister, Beezus, christened Beatrice, wondered what went on in all those other movies. They planned to find out the minute they were grown-up. That was one thing they agreed on. Or maybe their father would bring presents, a package of colored paper for Ramona, a paperback book for Beezus.
I wish I could think of something interesting to do with leftover pot roast and creamed cauliflower," remarked Mrs. Quimby.
Leftovers--yuck!, thought Ramona. "Maybe Daddy will take us to the Whopperburger for supper for payday," she said. A soft, juicy hamburger spiced with relish, French fries crisp on the outside and mealy inside, a little paper cup of cole slaw at the Whopperburger Restaurant were Ramona's favorite payday treat. Eating close together in a booth made Ramona feel snug and cozy. She and Beezus never quarreled at the Whopperburger.
"Good idea." Mrs. Quimby closed the refrigerator door. "I'll see what I can do."
Then Beezus came into the kitchen through the back door, dropped her books on the table, and flopped down on a chair with a gusty sigh.
"What was that all about?" asked Mrs. Quimby, not at all worried.
"Nobody is any fun anymore," complained Beezus. "Henry spends all his time running around the track over at the high school getting ready for the Olympics in eight or twelve years, or he and Robert study a book of world records trying to find a record to break, and Mary Jane practices the piano all the time." Beezus sighed again. "And Mrs. Mester says we are going to do lots of creative writing, and I hate creative writing. I don't see why I had to get Mrs. Mester for seventh grade anyway."
"Creative writing can't be as bad as all that," said Mrs. Quimby.
"You just, don't understand," complained Beezus. "I can never think of stories, and my poems are stuff like, 'See the bird in the tree. He is singing to me.'"
"Tee-hee, tee-hee," added Ramona without thinking.
"Ramona," said Mrs. Quimby, "that was not necessary.
Because Beezus had been so grouchy lately, Ramona could manage to be only medium sorry.
"Pest!" said Beezus. Noticing Ramona's work, she added , Making out a Christmas list in September is silly."
Ramona calmly selected an orange crayon. She was used to being called a pest. "If I am a pest, you are a rotten dinosaur egg," she informed her sister.
"Mother, make her stop," said Beezus.
When Beezus said this, Ramona knew she had won. The time had come to change the subject. "Today's payday," she told her sister. "Maybe we'll get to go to the Whopperburger for supper."