Ramona and Her Mother by Beverly Cleary

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I’m so happy that my girls enjoy reading as much as I do. We try to read together every night, and we also listen to a lot of audiobooks in the car. We’ve read several of Beverly Cleary’s Ramona books, so when the girls asked if we could listen to a story, I put on Ramona and Her Mother.

Ramona and Her Mother is the fifth book in the Ramona series, and it takes place immediately after the events of Ramona and Her Father. Some of the other books in the series jump forward to the next school year, but Ramona and Her Father ends with a Christmas pageant and Ramona and Her Mother begins with a New Year’s Day brunch.

In this book, Ramona struggles to find her place within her family. She has some moments of introspection when little Willa Jean acts like a pest, and Ramona is indignant when people compare Willa Jean to her. Ramona has always appreciated being the baby of the family, but now feels left out when she sees her sister Beezus helping their mother with chores.

Cleary alternates these thoughtful moments with some classic Ramona mischief. Ramona and Howie have a disaster in the laundry room, and Ramona fulfills a lifelong dream of squeezing an entire tube of toothpaste into the sink.

I would absolutely recommend Ramona and Her Mother to middle grade readers. The book functions well as a standalone, but reading the books in order gives the reader the benefit of seeing Ramona develop as a character as she begins school and gains new experiences and perspectives. Cleary is able to capture the spirit of childhood so well. We have already started listening to the next Ramona book! They’re around two hours of listening time apiece; with all the time we spend in the car, it doesn’t take us very long to finish a Ramona book!

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