Saturday, May 31, 2008

Ramona the Pest

Ramona the Pest

This was one of my favorite Ramona books because in it, Ramona has her first day of Kindergarden. I was a big nerd kid, so I read this book the summer before I went to Kindergarden, and man, oh man, did it make me excited. And terrified. Anyway.

We open on the first day of school, with Ramona’s older sister Beezus, telling her not to be a pest. Ramona is just singing and and skipping, which is not pest like behavior, and she tells Beezus this. Shut up, Beezus.
Ramona is super-duper excited about going to school until Beezus’ friend Mary Jane comes to walk with Beezus to school. She tries to convince Mrs. Quimby to let her and Beezus walk Ramona to school, which Ramona is totes not into, because Mary Jane likes to play mom and make Ramona be a baby, and Ramona does not want to look like a baby in front of her whole Kindergarden class. Word, Ramona. Mrs Quimby is actually going to let them do this, and the hell? What kind of parents even considers not taking their kid to school on the first day of Kindergarden. Something in the milk ain’t clean, Mrs. Quimby.
Ramona prepares herself for a hissy fit, and her mom gives in, but the situation is not much improved, because now she has to walk with her mother’s friend Mrs. Kemp and her son Howie, of whom Ramona is not a big fan.
The gang gets to the school and they meet Ramona’s new teacher, Mrs. Binney, who is young and pretty. She takes Ramona to a desk and tells her to sit there ‘for the present’ which, dumbass. Does she really think a 5 year old will know that means ‘for the time being?’ Ramona, of course thinks she’s getting a present and brags to Howie about it. Ramona refuses to get up to see the room with their cubbies, to sing the Star Spangled Banner (which she thinks goes ‘Oh say can you see/ By the dawnzer lee light’ and must be about a lamp, which I think is a pretty good conclusion), and to go outside to play Gray Duck, and Mrs. Binney apparently does not see anything odd about this.
Mrs. Binney finally realizes her mistake when Ramona won’t get up to go outside, and Ramona is, understandably, disappointed. I mean, when you’re 5, presents are better than sex!
The class goes outside to play Gray Duck, which is just like Duck Duck Goose. Ramona is eyeing one girl’s hair (Susan) because it’s curly, and she wants to stretch out a curl and watch it boing back into place. That’s OK, Ramona, sometimes I really want to touch people’s heads for no reason. She gets her chance, Susan has a hissy fit, and Ramona has to sit on the bench for the rest of the game, which I think is really a little bit harsh.
The kids go inside and it’s naptime, and the teacher says whoever naps the quietest will get to be the Wake Up Fairy. Ramona is determined to win this battle, and she lies still and quietly on her mat. To prove she’s really resting, she lets out a tiny snore, which everyone else thinks is hilarious, so they all start snoring and giggling. Mrs. Binney tells them to stop, Howie blames it on Ramona, and shut up Howie. Obvs, Ramona does not get to be the Wake Up Fairy. Poor Ramona.
The next day is show and tell, so Ramona brings her doll, Chevrolet, to school. I love you, Ramona. Chevrolet’s hair can really be washed, and Ramona talks about that for awhile, and about how her hair turned green because she tried to put a blue rinse in it, and what do yellow and blue make? You got it. The class laughs at Chevrolet’s name, and Mrs. Binney makes them stop and says the name is pretty, and Ramona totally hearts her.
Howie had forgotten to bring anything for show and tell, so Ramona’s mom had made her go get him something from her house. That something was a blue rabbit that is now a cat toy, and Howie is embarrassed to show it to the class. Ha ha Howie. Mrs. Binney gives Howie a ribbon to tie around the bunny’s neck. Howie feels better, and Ramona feels that the ribbon has somehow made up for yesterday’s lack of present. Way to go Mrs. Binney, you brought you’re A game today. Keep this up and I might forgive you for benching my girl yesterday.
Unforch, when they leave school, Howie bitchfaces about giving the ribbon back, they have a big fight, the moms step in, and neither one of them gets the ribbon. Life is so hard, Ramona. I’m sorry. Howie, you deserved what you got. No one should ever mess with Ramona Quimby.
They get back to Ramona’s and Ramona and Howie go outside to play. Howie wants to take one of the wheels off of Ramona’s tricycle to make it a two wheeler, and Ramona says he can if she gets the ribbon. Smart thinking, girlfriend. This works, and they make up.
Things start looking up for Ramona, and she starts crushing hard on a boy named Davy, who sometimes wears a cape to school so that he can be Mighty Mouse. Whatever, Ramona, you don’t have to tell anyone about this when you get older. She chases him around the playground trying to kiss him, and great fun ensues.
When they have to draw pictures of their houses, Ramona gets all creative and draws black swirls coming out of the windows. The class gets all mean about her scribbling on her picture, and she explains that she’s not scribbling, it’s smoke. There’s a fire in the fireplace, and the chimney is stopped up with Santa Claus. You’re a damn genius Ramona. That’s some pretty imaginative thinking for a 5 year old.
The class starts learning to print their names, and Mrs. Binney tells Ramona that the letter Q is like a cat with a little tail, so Ramona, our beloved left-brainer starts drawing little ears and whiskers on her Q’s. Mrs. Binney stifles her creativity, and Ramona is sad.
One day Ramona gets to school (she and Howie are walking by themselves now and really? My parents would barely let me go in the back yard by myself when I was five!) and discovers that there is a substitute teacher. Ramona is a smart girl and knows about Stranger Danger, so she decides it’s a better idea to go hide behind the trash cans in the school yard. Of course she gets caught, the principle takes her back to class, and she discovers that the substitute teacher will let her draw ears and whiskers on her Q’s to her heart’s content.
We learn about how Ramona has to wear Howie’s old rain boots, and they’re brown and not shiny like the other girls’ and she really sad about it until she goes to get new shoes and Howie’s ugly boots will not fit over them. She gets new boots! But then on the first day that it rains she goes to play in some mud and gets stuck. She’s afraid that she’ll lose her boots forever until the crossing guard, who happens to have his own series, comes and rescues her and her boots. She then informs him that she’s going to marry him, and I totes agree. There’s something so sexy about a crossing guard.
Then comes the day of the Halloween parade and Ramona is all jacked up because she’s going to be THE BADDEST WITCH IN THE WORLD and she has a mask so scary she scares herself when she wears it. All is well until she realizes that other kids on the playground have the same mask, and no one can tell her from the other witches. She’s freaked out that her mother will not know who she is, and will take another witch home. Oh, Ramona. She then has the brilliant idea to make a sign with her name on it, and carries it in the parade. You’re awesome, Ramona.
One day Ramona has a loose tooth, and, since she’s smarter than the average adult, she’s already figured out that the tooth fairy is most likely her father. One morning her mom leaves her at home alone (the hell???) and tells her to leave for school at a quarter past eight. Ramona, knowing that a quarter is 25 cents, waits until the big hand on the clock gets to the 5 before leaving. Ramona is the only one on the street and is freaked out, but she makes it to school a little late, no thanks to her mother. Ramona loses her tooth in class that day, and is so overjoyed that she boings the curly-haired girls’ hair again, and the girl (whose name is Susan) calls her a pest.
Ramona is totes bitter, because that’s what Beezus calls her and she boings one of Susan’s curls again. She gets caught and Mrs. Binney tells her that if she can’t stop pulling Susan’s hair she’ll have to go home and stay there until she can. Ramona is heart broken because her precious Mrs. Binney doesn’t love her anymore. Mrs Binney asks if she thinks she can stop pulling Susan’s hair and she says ‘No. I can’t.’ Big mistake girlfriend. Mrs. Binney makes her sit outside on the bench until it’s time to go home, and if she did that to my kid she would be sued. Ramona is distraught because she is a kindergarden dropout (is that similar to this?) and she left her tooth at school. Poor Ramona.
The next day Ramona’s mom takes her back to school and talks to her teacher. She overhears them calling her ‘bright and imaginative’ (you got that right) and saying she has a ‘negative desire for attention’ (no she doesn’t, she’s just a really smart kid. Shut up, grownups.)
Ramona refuses to go back to Kindergarden. I can’t blame her, she’s too smart for that crap anyway. That night, their mother tells Beezus she needs more light to read by and Ramona suggests that she turn on the ‘dawnzer.’ Beezus figures out what she means and totally laughs at her, which I would too, to be fair. Ramona is upset because she is a kindergarden dropout who gets everything wrong. Poor Ramona. It’s hard being misunderstood.
The next day Ramona still won’t go to school, so her mom makes her go shopping for boring stuff, which is a good motivator. The morning after that, her mother finally figures out what’s going on when Ramona says she’ll go back to Kindergarden once Mrs. Binney has forgotten all about her and she can start all over again. Aw. Mrs. Quimby tries to tell her that Mrs. Binney won’t forget about her, but Ramona ain’t having it.
Ramona stays home for several days, until one day Howie comes over and gives her a letter Mrs. Binney wrote for her. Mrs. Binney has addressed it to Ramona Q. with a whiskers and a tail on the Q. Aw. She has also sent Ramona her tooth. Mrs. Binney’s letter asks when Ramona is going back to Kindergarden, and Ramona says she will go back tomorrow. She’s really excited, until Joykiller Howie says she can’t go back tomorrow, because it’s Saturday. Ramona takes it like a man, though, and we have

The End

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I’ve wanted to start a YA blog for awhile, and when my stud muffin husband suggested that I blog about the Ramona books, and was thrilled – not only because he was steadfastly not making fun of me for this, but because I’d have an excuse to re-read all the books that were my absolute favorites as a kid! So here goes nothing…