Ramona Redux


“Dr. Eric Knudsen…” a joke only my sister will get.

If I learned one thing early in parenting, it’s that you can’t account for taste. Just because I love artichokes and Monty Python, doesn’t mean my kids do. They don’t. Which makes it vewy difficult to expwain “Wewease Woddewick!”

It’s nigh impossible for me to curate fiction for my daughter. Everything I assume she’ll like, she’s politely lukewarm about, usually after I’ve lugged home a trunk full of books.

Terry Pratchett: she’s too young, Roald Dahl: likes the movies better, J.K. Rowling: she actually does love J.K. Rowling, but the heavy volumes make her arms tired.

(Why don’t I just let my kids choose what they want to read? I do. But, I also take their education seriously, and want to expose them to a variety of books instead of Lego and Barbie – not that there’s anything wrong with that…)

I was about to give up when she talked me into buying a series of seven fairy books. She said they were popular at her school and she had read one and liked it. After the third book, the author’s formula was so clear, she began making jokes like, “Then the fart queen lost her magic poop and needed the girls to help her…”

On a recent trip to the library, I saw the Beverly Cleary section and checked out Ramona the Brave more for myself than for her. (Kids can smell nostalgia and it spooks them.)

I started reading Ramona when I was seven, and could instantly relate. Instead of one know-it-all, perfect older sister like Beezus, I had two (Beezi?) who loved LOVED Laura Ingalls Wilder and Judy Blume, but I wanted something else. Ramona was astute. She competed and often lost. She didn’t speak like a baby, misunderstand the obvious, or get away with being a spoiled brat. Ramona was not “girlie.” She wasn’t pristine or perfect.

My daughter and I sat down to read together and…

a favorable review! (… and there was much rejoicing)


If I don’t make eye contact…

This is our paper-bag owl project – in the book, the second graders made them for parents’ night. She was determined to make a googly-eyed owl, and perhaps, she mused, she could crumple mine…

Make an owl. Read some Ramona. Post your paper bag owls to my Facebook page, or tweet them @lynnvanlier.

Check out this book for more fun projects. It’s on sale until June 10, 2015.

Owl, be damned!

Owl, be damned!


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