RAMONA'S WORLD By Beverly Cleary Morrow Junior Books 192 pp., $15 Ages 8-11
Don't kick the summer reading habit: Beverly Cleary has written the perfect accompaniment to back-to-school days. "Ramona's World" stars that spunky gal loved by several generations.
Ramona knows that fourth grade is going to be "the best year of her life, so far." She's excited to show off her playground calluses and to share the news of her baby sister.
But while Mrs. Quimby is absorbed in reading "Moby Dick" for her book club, Ramona soon embarks on an epic struggle with her own nemesis: spelling.
School isn't only about work, of course. Ramona gets a crush on old friend, Yard Ape, and she experiences the joy of making a new best friend. She and Daisy share the triumph of writing a reprimand to a company that printed "gonna" and "shoulda" in their newspaper ad.
While big sister Beezus, now in high school, learns fancy French words and sneaks off to the mall to get her ears pierced, Ramona is impressed with her own grown-up role as big sister to baby Roberta.
Chaos erupts when Mrs. Quimby entrusts the baby to Ramona's care while she leaves on a quick errand. In a brief 15 minutes, Ramona has to deal with the cat hacking up a hair ball and then rescue baby Roberta, who gets her head stuck in the kitty condo.
New and old friends of Ramona will love to join in her journey as she approaches "zeroteen" and quickly learns more than Ahab ever did about facing challenges.
Fans will hope Cleary and illustrator Alan Tiegreen continue their portraits of Ramona as she enters her teenage years.
(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society