Reviews provided by Syndetics
Publishers Weekly Review
Cleary's first Ramona novel in 15 years opens as this strong-willed heroine enters fourth grade, determined to find herself a best friend. A new girl at school named Daisy fits the bill perfectly and costars in two of the novel's liveliest scenes: she and Ramona vacuum Daisy's cat, and while the two play a game of make-believe in the attic, Ramona's legs break through the floor and dangle over the dining room table. Though the precocious nine-year-old is on relatively firm ground at school ("By the fourth grade she had learned to put up with teachers"), Ramona resents the emphasis that this year's teacher places on correct spelling, tries to tolerate the seemingly perfect Susan andÄvery realisticallyÄalternately feuds and flirts with classmate Danny (whom she calls Yard Ape because he "acted like an ape on the playground"). On the home front, Ramona stews over her mother's preoccupation with a new baby and rolls her eyes at how sister Beezus (now a high-schooler) tends to integrate her newly acquired French vocabulary into conversation. A couple minor subplots seem dated (e.g., Beezus takes dancing lessons from her father in preparation for her first boy-girl party, to which she wears a blouse with ruffles), but most of Ramona's triumphs and traumas are timeless and convincingly portrayed. "I am a potential grown-up," declares this spunky protagonist on her 10th birthday, proudly trotting out one of her challenge words in spelling. Fans will hope that Cleary has many more growing pains and pleasures in store for Ramona before this potential is realized. 100,000 first printing. Ages 8-up. (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
School Library Journal Review
Gr 2-4-Picking up where Ramona Forever (Morrow, 1984) left off, Cleary gives her readers a much-awaited gem with this consistent and expressive look into the world of this beloved character. Here, eager readers find out just how well Ramona adjusts to being a big sister and a fourth grader. Irrepressible as always, she does not fail to satisfy with her antics. Beezus is in high school-getting her ears pierced, baby-sitting, and going to parties with boys-while baby Roberta is, well, busy being a baby. Ramona makes a best friend, falls through an attic ceiling, is a responsible baby-sitter, and struggles with spelling. Once again, Tiegreen provides well-chosen and well-placed black-and-white line drawings throughout. The story concludes with Ramona's 10th birthday, or "zeroteenth" as she is pleased to note. The close-ended chapters relate different episodes in the child's life, a format well suited for reading aloud. Write on Ms. Cleary!-Christy Norris Blanchette, Valley Cottage Library, NY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Gr. 3^-6. It's been a long wait (Ramona Forever was published in 1984), but Miss Quimby is back, and she's as feisty as ever. Now in the fourth grade, Ramona is adjusting to life as a big sister to baby Roberta, finding out what it means to have a best friend, and experiencing the very first twinges of romance with her old buddy, Yard Ape. Plot threads run through the whole book, but as in the earlier novels, each chapter is also a small story unto itself. The vignettes are at their best when they get right to the heart of a child's concerns, as when Ramona accidently makes a face while having her class picture taken, a scenario immediately accessible to readers. Considering that Ramona made her first title appearance in 1955, Cleary (along with illustrator Alan Tiegreen) has done a remarkable job of keeping her au currant. There are a few slips here--girls who are almost 10 are more likely to be watching MTV than dressing up as princesses and witches--but for the most part, this is just what readers have been waiting for: vintage Ramona. --Ilene Cooper
Horn Book Review
(Primary, Intermediate) Although it's been fifteen years since Ramona Forever, only two months have passed for the heroine herself, now armed for fourth grade with news of her new baby sister, Roberta. On the one hand, Mrs. Meacham loves Ramona's composition about Roberta; on the other, the teacher corrects Ramona's spelling in front of the whole class. And thus goes Ramona's year, a collection of ups and downs leading to her tenth birthday: ""'That's a teenager, sort of,' said Ramona. 'Zeroteen. That's a double-digit number.'"" This latest book about Ramona lacks the immediacy and tart style of its predecessors; Cleary here seems intent upon making Ramona (and Beezus) more typical than individualized. Too, passing references to nose-piercing and Velcro seem anachronistic: the sisters are otherwise untouched by life as we know it in the nineties (is Beezus really attending her first boy-girl party in the ninth grade?). While fans may welcome this Ramona redux, it's disappointing to see how innocuous she's become. r.s. (c) Copyright 2010. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. All rights reserved.
Kirkus Book Review
Ramona returns (Ramona Forever, 1988, etc.), and she's as feisty as ever, now nine-going-on-ten (or ""zeroteen,"" as she calls it). Her older sister Beezus is in high school, babysitting, getting her ears pierced, and going to her first dance, and now they have a younger baby sister, Roberta. Cleary picks up on all the details of fourth grade, from comparing hand calluses to the distribution of little plastic combs by the school photographer. This year Ramona is trying to improve her spelling, and Cleary is especially deft at limning the emotional nuances as Ramona fails and succeeds, goes from sad to happy, and from hurt to proud. The grand finale is Ramona's birthday party in the park, complete with a cake frosted in whipped cream. Despite a brief mention of nose piercing, Cleary's writing still reflects a secure middle-class family and untroubled school life, untouched by the classroom violence or the broken families of the 1990s. While her book doesn't match what's in the newspapers, it's a timeless, serene alternative for children, especially those with less than happy realities. Copyright ©Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.