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Book Review

This book has been reviewed by Focus on the Family’s marriage and parenting magazine. It is not in a series but is the first in a collection of eight books with Ramona Quimby as the main character.

Positive Elements

Spiritual Content

Sexual Content

Violent Content

Crude or Profane Language

Drug and Alcohol Content

Other Negative Elements


Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

Beezus Quimby thinks that her little sister, Ramona, is a big nuisance. Whether she's riding a tricycle through the living room, blowing bubbles in her lemonade or finger painting on the family cat, Ramona finds a way to exasperate her sister. Nine-year-old Beezus decides to stop embroidering a potholder for her Aunt Beatrice so she can read to Ramona, hoping to quiet her down.

The plan backfires when Ramona chooses a book about a steam shovel and insists on making noisy sound effects as Beezus reads. Finally Beezus offers to walk with Ramona to the library so she can choose a different book. Ramona embarrasses her sister by wearing a pair of paper bunny ears and showing a neighbor the scabs on her knees. Instead of accepting the books Beezus suggests, Ramona chooses another book about a steam shovel, annoying her sister once again.

At home, Beezus shows Ramona how to spell and write her name, and Ramona practices by writing it on the pages of the library book in purple crayon. This makes Beezus furious because the book was checked out on her card. Mrs. Quimby gives Beezus $2.50 and tells the girls to walk back to the library to pay for the damaged book.

As Beezus and Ramona walk to the park, Beezus thinks about how people always comment on Ramona's imagination. She wishes that she had a good imagination, too. Ramona plays in the park while Beezus attends an after-school art class nearby. Soon after class begins and Beezus is painting a picture of a make-believe animal, Ramona arrives with a make-believe lizard on a string. The art teacher invites Ramona to sit with Beezus and paint.

Although Beezus complains that she doesn't have any imagination, the teacher encourages her to just try and have a good time. Beezus does have fun painting, but when Ramona steals a classmate's lollipop, Beezus decides that it's time for her to go back to the park where she belongs. While Ramona plays outside, Beezus is inspired and paints a dragon decorated with lollipops down its back. The teacher praises Beezus for her imagination and tacks the painting on the wall where everyone can see it.

Another day, the Quimbys' neighbor Henry Huggins stops by to play checkers with Beezus. Ramona wants to join them, but Beezus says she's too little. When Mrs. Quimby tells Ramona not to bother them, Ramona has a tantrum and is sent to her room. When she agrees to leave them alone, she is allowed to leave her room, but then she immediately gets into more trouble by locking Henry's dog, Ribsy, in the bathroom after he eats her cookie. Finally Mrs. Quimby is able to open the door by slipping a nail file into the lock. As Beezus listens to her mother and Aunt Beatrice talk on the telephone, she realizes that she would like to have a close relationship with Ramona, but she finds it difficult because Ramona is so annoying.

Mrs. Quimby asks Beezus to watch Ramona after school while she goes to the market. When Ramona wakes from her nap, Beezus gives her a treat and goes to her own room to change clothes. Then she wants to read Ramona a story, but can't find her. Beezus looks all over the house and finally discovers Ramona in the basement, where she has taken one bite out of dozens of apples. Beezus worries that her mother will be angry with her for not watching Ramona more carefully. When Aunt Beatrice calls, she advises Beezus to ignore Ramona and playfully suggests that their mother make applesauce. Beezus shares this information with her mother, and the girls help Mrs. Quimby make applesauce all afternoon. Even though Ramona admits to being "bad" that afternoon, she is not punished, which surprises her.

One afternoon, a neighbor leaves her children at the Quimbys' house to play with Ramona. Soon after that, several other children arrive, and it becomes clear to Mrs. Quimby that Ramona has invited all of her friends to a party. Beezus thinks quickly and decides that having a parade will entertain the crowd. She makes flags out of rulers and handkerchiefs and serves everyone applesauce.

On Beezus' 10th birthday, her mother bakes her favorite cake. As she is preparing it, Beezus reads Hansel and Gretel to Ramona. Then, while no one is watching, Ramona puts her rubber doll in the oven where it melts, spoiling the cake. Beezus realizes that sometimes she doesn't love her little sister. Aunt Beatrice brings another birthday cake when she comes to dinner that evening. After the presents are opened, Aunt Beatrice and Mrs. Quimby reminisce and laugh about things that happened when they were young. They admit that they didn't always love each other, either. Beezus blows out the 10 candles on her cake, wishing every birthday could be as happy as this one.

Christian Beliefs


Other Belief Systems


Authority Roles

Mr. and Mrs. Quimby maintain authority in the home with a great deal of patience and a sense of humor. Beezus also looks to her Aunt Beatrice for advice when Ramona misbehaves, and her aunt offers helpful, loving counsel. When Ramona sneaks into her sister's art class, Miss Robbins, the teacher, doesn't chastise her but encourages her to use her imagination and express herself along with the rest of the class. When Ramona writes in a library book that Beezus has checked out, they must report to Mrs. Evans, the librarian, for the consequences. Mrs. Evans is fair but firm when she tells the girls that the book must be paid for and that it now belongs to Beezus.





Discussion Topics

Get free discussion questions for this book and others, at FocusOnTheFamily.com/discuss-books.

Additional Comments/Notes

You can request a review of a title you can't find at reviewrequests@family.org.

Book reviews cover the content, themes and worldviews of fiction books, not their literary merit, and equip parents to decide whether a book is appropriate for their children. The inclusion of a book's review does not constitute an endorsement by Focus on the Family.

Episode Reviews



Readability Age Range

8 to 12


Beverly Cleary






Record Label



HarperTrophy, which is an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers


On Video

Year Published





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