Thursday, May 21, 2009

Shout Out

As much as I love the Amish books (which Kid mistakenly calls my Mormon books... who can blame her for getting her mother's religious obsessions mixed up?) I want to give a nod to the brilliantly written Ramona books by Beverly Cleary.

Sure you read them. You loved them... but you probably do not remember how clever they really were.

Ladies and gents they are freaking hilarious. Kid and I laugh hysterically every night. It's hard to stop at just one chapter. They are fantastically descriptive and true to the thinking and emotions of latency aged children (THESE ARE NOT JUST FOR GIRLS!). I also love that the writing is sophisticated and not dumbed down for young readers/listeners. This is one of those rare series of books that are just as entertaining to read for the adult as they are for the child.

These books are written using "big words" that your kids might not have been exposed to yet (well for today's kids... you might remember some of these words from your youth). Remember when kids didn't have to learn vocabulary for the SATs? You know... back when the test was a test of their actual vocabulary knowledge and not a test of what they memorized in order to pass the test. Tonight's chapter had "chagrined" in it... one of my favorite words... and not one often used in books written for second graders these days. WHY ARE WE DUMBING DOWN OUR CHILDREN!???!!

As an added bonus for today's readers several of the books in the Ramona series deal with economic issues and job loss and how it effects their family in a very real honest way. If this is something that has touched your family these books might be a really good outlet for your children.


julie said...

Jack loves these books. I totally hear you on the dumbing down of our children and the whole memorizing rather than just being exposed to it all.

You cracked me up with your "why am i not losing weight" popping up in your tag.

Kiki said...

I loved Ramona when I was young, I devoured them and saved my allowance to buy them...sweet memories!!

When I was seven my mom read us the C.S Lewis books at night, some of my favorite memories are of those nights and waiting to find out what would happen next....

carla said...

man I too adored ramona and beezus.
Might have to get those...for me.

Mrs Furious said...

seriously... something is up because I have been working out and sticking in my range. I'd almost think I was pregs except that's not possible on MANY fronts ;)

"and saved my allowance to buy them"
Oh that is cute!

I also loved being read to.

That's what I'm saying. I actually want to take them with me at night and go sit down and keep reading.

Shannon - said...

those were my AFAVORITE books ever! I still credit them for my early LOVE for reading! Have you guys ever seen the TV show/taped series? I used to rent them from the library with my mom all the time.

Out of Hand said...

I would have to sneak these away from Kiki to read them on my own. My favorite was that Kiki would read to me sometimes. And Chantz loves them too...They are written smartly. Better than the Fairy series that seem to have hooked every girl in my daughter's class and she has said that she doesn't like them because they don't make sense and have no ending. It's true...they just abrubtly end. Not a cliff hanger. Just end. Wierd. I just finished reading The Boxcar Children to Olivia and My Side of the Mountain to Chantz. Both really good.

The Other Susan said...

My 7-year old niece loves the Ramona books! I started her with Henry and Ribsy (Henry Huggins is Beezus's friend) and then she moved on.

I just came back from a visit (she is in Florida, I live in New York) and I spent much of my conversation defining the words I was using. Tedious, uninspiring, and so on--I am a vocabulary lesson every time I go down there!

Fortunately, she loves to read and is reading above her grade level, so I expect her vocabulary will grow quickly.

And try Ellen Tebbits by Beverly Cleary--that one was always my favorite.

Torey said...

I love the Ramona books. I can't wait for my kids to be big enough for those! I remember the series, I wish there were more episodes, but I only recall a few. . .specifically the blue hand one!

I also love the Boxcar Children Books (well, most of them. . .they got a little strange further into the series. . .)

Jess said...

Beverly Cleary was always one of my favorite authors. Have you read her autobiographies? They're really fascinating.

And yay for big words! I never had problems with the SAT or any of that, because my mom read books like this to me as a kid.

Mrs Furious said...

I had no idea there was a TV series. I'm looking into it! That could be GREAT for our long road trips this summer.

Out of Hand,
I know those fairy books well and I agree with Olivia... they just don't really make any sense.
I can't wait for Kid to be able to read to Baby... she pretends to now.

The Other Susan,
Ooh I'll look into Ellen Tibbets... we're almost done with all the Ramona books. Thanks!

Alright you are the 2nd Boxcar recommendation. I never read those... but I'll start checking them out for Kid. We really love series books!!

I am ALL over those autobiographies. I love autobiographies/biographies! I'm going to see if I can check them out tomorrow.

P/F said...

I have some of the Ramona and other Beverly Cleary books left over from when I was a kid. Son was initially put off by the 'girl books,' but his reading addiction was too strong - he eventually caved and read them.

It's only fair because he brought home a Laura Ingalls Wilder book that he was reading for school last year. I never read them as a kid, now I'm hooked.

gooddog said...

last week my 5YO started singing "99 bottles of beer on the wall" out of the blue. When i asked him where he learned it... he said his Ramona book on CD. Here's to hoping that's what he tells the mom's of his friends when they hear him singing it too!

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