Ramona's World by Beverly Cleary

Spunky Ramona Quimby

Ramona's World by Beverly Cleary - children's book cover
Ramona's World by Beverly Cleary. HarperCollins

Ramona's World by Beverly Cleary is the eighth book about the spunky little girl and her everyday life. The first, Beezus and Ramona, was published in 1955; Ramona's World was published in 1999. The Ramona books are popular with young readers 8 to 12 years old.

It is a rare author who can write books that can stand the test of time like those of Beverly Cleary. If your children haven't met Ramona Quimby and her neighbors on Klickitat Street, it's time for you to introduce them. There are a lot of entertaining books in the Ramona series, which will provide great fun as read-alouds for younger children, and especially as books for independent readers. Ramona's World is the final story about Ramona Quimby, but readers do not have to have read the other Ramona books to enjoy it; Ramona's World can be read as a standalone story.

Summary of Ramona's World

With a fifteen year break between Ramona's World and the previous Ramona book, I was a little apprehensive about a lack of continuity. I needn't have worried. In this book as in her others, Beverly Cleary is right on target as she addresses, in typical humorous fashion, the vicissitudes of the life of Ramona Quimby, now a fourth grader.

Part of the charm of Cleary's writing is her ability to imbue ordinary events with the drama and importance an actual fourth grader would feel they deserve. Ramona has a lot of challenges this year, including a new baby sister, a new teacher, an older sister who is now a teenager, a new best friend, and her first crush. She agonizes that her teacher doesn't like her and worries that she will never learn to spell properly.

Even the good things, like having a new best friend Daisy, are fraught with peril. When playing dress-up as the princess (Ramona) and the witch (Daisy) in the attic of Daisy's house, the two friends get in a tussle. This results in Ramona's inadvertently stepping on the unfinished part of the attic floor and falling part-way through the ceiling of the dining room. However, all's well that ends well. Ramona is happy because Daisy is still her friend and her own family pays a lot of attention to her as she shares the story of the accident with them.

Each Chapter a Story in Itself

While there are story threads that continue throughout "Ramona's World," the book is episodic in structure. Clever pen and ink sketches by Jacqueline Rodgers illustrate the chapters. Each chapter is a story in itself. This makes the book particularly valuable for children who are making the transition from picture books to chapter books and those who prefer reading books a chapter at a time. It also makes Ramona's World a good bedtime read-aloud for a parent to share with a child.

All of Beverly Cleary's Ramona Books

There are a total of eight Ramona books:

  • Beezus and Ramona
  • Ramona the Pest
  • Ramona the Brave
  • Ramona and Her Father
  • Ramona and Her Mother
  • Ramona Quimby, Age 8
  • Ramona Forever
  • Ramona's World

Are Beverly Cleary Books Favorites in Your Family?

Did you read Beverly Cleary books when you were growing up? Do your children read them? Have your kids read Dear Mr. Henshaw, for which Beverly Cleary won a John Newbery Medal?

Recommended Middle Grade Fiction

If your kids enjoy Beverly Cleary's books, they may also enjoy children's books by Kate DiCamillo. They include Because of Winn-Dixie, a Newbery Honor Book, her fairy tale The Tale of Despereaux, for which she won the John Newbery Medal and Flora and Ulysses , the 2014 John Newbery Medal winner.​