Tuesday, April 12th, 2011

Beverly Cleary Is 95

While we're celebrating birthdays, let us wish a very happy one to the great Beverly Cleary, who turns 95 today. Henry Huggins is the very first chapter book I remember reading. It led me to the rest of her books, even the ones about girls, which is usually a tough sell for a little boy. I have no idea how the kids of today relate to her stuff—its simplicity may make it seem impossibly remote in our age of child sexting or whatever—but I hope they're as able to connect to it as I was; she is indeed one of the writers who made me an enthusiastic reader, and the experience of enjoying an author's work so much that you want to read more of it is not to be undervalued at an early age.

13 Comments / Post A Comment

C_Webb (#855)

The books hold up really well today. Parents who don't let their kids run amok or buy them whatever they want; bullies and mean girls; obtuse teachers who ruin your year (which in 4th grade seems like a lifetime). In the later Ramona books, parents lose jobs and argue. I'm pretty sure the only thing my kids completely failed to identify with in a Beverly Cleary book was Ellen Tebbits' long underwear — I think I actually ended up having to draw a diagram.

MaryHaines (#3,666)

Yes, and this despite the fact that they've all been reissued with hideous garish paperback covers (and the cheapest kind of paper, the kind that's already gray in the bookstore). It is to weep.

dado (#102)

That Henry sure could sell earthworms.

keisertroll (#1,117)

And yet he could neither fry them nor eat them.

keisertroll (#1,117)

Plus she solved the whole "What rhymes with 'Jesus'?" problem.

The after-school program I went to had a little library. I made a little girl cry by taking Ribsy when she wanted it. It was my first Cleary book, and it was so good that I never felt bad about it.

Carrie Frye (#9,863)

I still think of Ramona wearing her new pajamas under her clothes whenever dressed too warmly for the day. (Also: Runaway Ralph 4ever!)

kpants (#719)

My avatar is Ramona from the Beverly Cleary Sculpture Garden just a few blocks away from Klickitat Street itself! (If one ever visits Portland, this is a recommended stop, especially in summer.)

boyofdestiny (#1,243)

If someone had told me I could have lived in Beverly Cleary Hall, I would have applied to Cal. And gotten rejected inevitably, but still! Beverly Cleary Hall!

Summer@twitter (#11,102)

Cleary's books hold up really well. My daughter has been reading them. My son's middle school is doing Henry Higgins as the play this year. Both report enjoyment of her works, despite their tweeny crankiness. I think that's a win.

Also on board with, "even the ones about girls, which is usually a tough sell for a little boy."

thepassenger (#10,603)

When I was a first-grader (circa 1969) our teacher read Ramona The Pest to the class, followed by Beezus and Ramona, Henry Huggins, and possibly others (that's a long time ago, memories are gettin' fuzzy). I was already reading on my own at that point, but these books certainly encouraged my enjoyment of reading on my own and discovering books. Also, remember how awesome the Scholastic Book Club was? My teachers always treated the arrival of those shipments as a big event, which they were.

mishaps (#5,779)

I just bought Ramona Quimby, Age 8 for a little relative's eighth birthday, and her mom told me that she had already read and loved at least one Beverly Cleary book.

There is hope for humanity yet!

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