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Ramona the Brave

by Beverly Cleary
Series: Ramona Quimby Series #3
190 pages, General Fiction
Reviewed by terbidoodles

Highly recommended for kids with only a few points to watch out for.

Plot

The story is about the adventures of Ramona Quimby (or Ramona Q), who is now in first grade. Since this is written for young children, the "adventures" include getting her own room, playing Brick Factory (which entails pounding up bricks into smithereens), making paper owls, and dealing with her first grade teacher.

Morality

To keep the story realistic, not all the good things that Ramona does are always recognized, but she keeps doing these anyway. She also has to deal with "injustice" - her teacher reprimands her for always looking at her seatmate's work during class, when in fact she's helping Davey with his reading.

Adults take notice of Ramona's faults and explain that it is wrong. It also shows that you are never justified in retaliating (even though the other person may have done something wrong against you) when Ramona is made to apologize to a classmate whose paper owl she crumpled up because the classmate was copying her work.

There are two portions though which parents might want to discuss with their kids:

1) When Ramona told the class during Show and Tell that workmen "chopped" a hole in her house, she asked her friend Howie to confirm the story. He said it wasn't true, and when Ramona later confronted him about his lie, he said it wasn't a lie because the term "chop" would connote the use of an axe, which the workmen didn't use. It seems then that using such technicalities to work around the truth is acceptable.

2) When Ramona threatened to say a "bad word" while she was having a tantrum, her mom told her to go ahead if it would make her feel better. It seems to encourage the use of crude language to let off steam (although the "bad word" - guts - didn't turn out to be so bad after all).

Spiritual Content

The story mentions that Ramona says her prayers before going to sleep. Once, she said her prayers twice in case God wasn't listening the first time.

Violence

Ramona "scrunches" her seatmate's paper owl. She also throws her shoe at a big dog.

Drug and Alcohol Content

None.

Sexual Content

None.

Crude or Profane Language or Content

None, although Ramona threatened to use a bad word once.

Conclusion

Unlike other children's books, this story doesn't patronize kids. It doesn't make them feel that whatever they're going through - being afraid of the dark, feeling unloved, etc - are unimportant. Adults in the story always do the right thing.

Fun Score: 4.5
Values Score: 4
Written for Age: 8-10

Review Rating:

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