Every time I use a pull chain to turn on a light, I think to myself, “It’s time to turn on the Dawnzer because it gives lee light” and I chuckle. My writing partner confesses that she yearns to tug on her daughter’s ringlets occasionally. We’re both channeling the indomitable spirit of Ramona Quimby, one of Beverly Cleary’s most memorable characters.
Cleary, who turned 96 on April 12, began her career as a librarian so it should come as no surprise that she was delighted that her birthday was chosen as D.E.A.R. Day — National “Drop Everything And Read” Day. Beverly Cleary created some of the most beloved — and enduring — of all literary characters in children’s literature because children wanted to read about kids just like them: in addition to Ramona, there’s her sister Beezus, Henry Huggins, Ribsy, and Socks, Otis Spofford, and Ellen Tebbits, to name but a few of my personal favorites.
I began reading Cleary’s books as a grade school kid. As a parent, I read her stories to my kids. My sons particularly enjoyed the high jinks of Ralph in The Mouse and the Motorcycle. Because I adored Ramona, I’ll confess to checking out from the library the audio version of Ramona and her Father and “forcing” my kids to listen to it last summer. As much as they initially complained, soon they were captivated by Ramona, her doll Chevrolet, and all the trouble one kid can pretty innocently to get into.
To learn more about this amazing woman, read about her characters, or play games based upon her books, visit Beverly Cleary’s web site.
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