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Ramona Quimby Age 8 Analysis, Activities and Lesson Plans

Ramona Quimby, Age 8
By Beverly Cleary

Cleary, Beverly. Ramona Quimby, Age 8. Ill. Alan Tiegreen. New York: Avon Books, 1992 (1981).

Category: Newbery Honor Book; contemporary realistic fiction

Approximate age group: Middle Elementary

Analysis: Beverly Cleary is a winner of the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award for her 40 year contribution to children's literature. She also has three Newbery Honor books, and Ramona Quimby, Age 8 is one of them.

The formatting of this book is characteristic of most books for this reading level. Well-spaced, medium-sized, bold print, makes for easy reading. The paper is thick and durable, great for a lot of lengthy, hands-on reading. Chapter numbers, chapter titles, and starting page numbers can all be found on the table of contents page, which has the same set-up and typeface as the chapter start pages. The chapter titles are also centered at the top of every odd numbered page, and serve as a good reference for young readers.

Ramona Quimby, Age 8, is illustrated with simple, scratchy, pencil drawings about every four pages, each creatively appropriate for the situation it represents. In one illustration (from chapter four: "The Quimbys' Quarrel"), Ramona and her father sit snuggly on the top three fourths of a page, side by side, with concentration on their faces, pencil and paper in hand, each with one sockless foot on the footstool in front of them. On this particular evening, Ramona's expectations are shattered, making her "feel sad in addition to reminding her she was cross at the world." When Ramona looked on her father's drawing pad, she saw, "the kind of picture a teacher would pin up off in the corner where no one but the artist would notice it." Ramona's drawing had been better than her father's had, and he was a grown-up. "For the first time, Ramona began to doubt that her father was the best artist in the whole world."

In another illustration (from chapter three: "The Hard-boiled Egg Fad"), Ramona is leaning forward on a cot, her knees together, hands folded in her lap, hair disheveled, and the door between her and the sink is slightly ajar. "Then, Ramona made an interesting discovery. Teachers talked about their classes."

Cleary uses tenderness, humor, and a simple, straightforward plot that is easy for young readers to follow. She is an uncanny ability to speak to the reader like no one else, and has created a rounded and identifiable character through which to do so. Ramona's personal dilemmas, discoveries, and disappointments are universal. The life events portrayed in this story are significant and concern issues that every child in this age group faces, including peer relationships, family roles, coping, fitting in, problem solving, and the idea and meaning behind being grown-up.


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