Can we talk about Beverly Cleary?

For those of you who may not have heard the news, Beverly Cleary died recently at the age of 104. The news came right as we were getting ready for the move. I was wrapping up stuff with the last batch of assignments for my day job, and I’d put this blog on hold for the time being.

I had a box full of old books that still had yet to be unpacked from the last move, however, it lived under my bed the whole time we were at the old house. It was my old Baby Sitters’ Club, Baby Sitters’ Little Sister, a few installments of the spinoffs like the California Diaries and the Kids in Miss Colman’s Class, among others.

As soon as I brought the pieces of my bookshelf over to the new house, I grabbed the box out of the wagon, through the living room and to the back bedroom, where I’d set up the bookshelf. I moved the armoire aside, carefully on account of the stereo still blasting one of the country music stations in my broadcast market.

It was time to give them a home on the bookshelf, and free that box up for something else. They’d lived in that old moving box long enough. As I put away my books, I came across my worn-out Beverly Cleary books, Ramona Quimby, Age 8, Ramona the Pest, and Ramona the Brave.

As you can tell from the picture, I basically read that copy of Ramona the Pest to rags, haha.

I actually got that from an order I got to place through the Scholastic Book Club one year in elementary school, and at this point, it shows.

Besides the Stoneybrook universe, the Ramona books were another favorite of mine as a kid.

That all started one day in 3rd grade, when our class came in from recess after lunch. The teacher would read to us from a chapter from a book, and then we’d go back to work.

One day, the teacher presented a new book to us, Ramona Quimby, Age 8, and started reading it to us. This was the first time I’d ever heard of this book, or Beverly Cleary for that matter.

To this day, I still love the part where Ramona and Beezus came up with the idea to make the grossest dinner they could come up with as their way of getting back at their parents for giving them cow tongue for dinner.

Over the years, the Ramona-verse fell by the wayside in favor of other books. Sometimes I’d still find myself going to that box and digging them out to read for old time’s sake, on a rainy day when I had no other commitments going on.

In college, I found out that the Ramona-verse was going to the silver screen, Ramona and Beezus. The movie came out in 2010, with Joey King as Ramona, and Selena Gomez as Beezus. When it hit the Redbox at the fast-food joint in my neighborhood shortly after I got my bike, I took it off the front porch where I kept it at the time in the middle of the night, checked my purse to make sure I had everything, and rode over to the restaurant. The reusable shopping bag I had on the handlebars flapped in the unseasonably warm fall night.

Just my luck, one copy was still available. I rented it for one night, and of course had to make a pit stop at the convenience store for my fave-rave nachos, just like I liked them: with the jalapenos and the buttload of nacho cheese sauce.

I went back home, and after I got everything squared away, and my (now late) kitties fed and watered, I popped the DVD into my computer, and it was showtime. Girl cat had to come in and sleep at the foot of my bed, and Boy cat came in to join the party.

He also thought he wanted some of the cheese from the nachos, and he hissed when I wouldn’t let him have some, too.

I noticed that the movie had incorporated elements from the other Ramona books besides just focusing on the book version, and I felt like it did a good job accomplishing it.

Come to think of it, I haven’t seen this movie in quite some time. Maybe this weekend, if I get the chance, I’ll do that.

When I heard that Beverly Cleary had died at the end of March, I felt a sense of sadness, since her books were a part of my childhood. 104 years is a damn long life, and I hope we all get the honor and the privilege of living that long. I mean that!

Over to you, readers. Which of Beverly Cleary’s books have you read? Which ones were your favorites? Got any special stories to share behind them? Seen the movie? How’d you like it? Sound off below!

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