Plugged In exists to shine a light on the world of popular entertainment while giving you and your family the essential tools you need to understand, navigate and impact the culture in which we live. Through reviews, articles and discussions, we want to spark intellectual thought, spiritual growth and a desire to follow the command of Colossians 2:8: "See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ."


Family uses Plugged In as a ‘significant compass’

"I am at a loss for words to adequately express how much it means to my husband and me to know that there is an organization like Focus that is rooting for us. Just today I was reading Psalm 37 and thinking about how your ministry provides ways to 'dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.' We have two teenagers and an 8-year-old in our household...Plugged In has become a significant compass for our family. All three of our kids are dedicated to their walk with Christ but they still encounter challenges. Thanks for all of your research and persistence in helping us navigate through stormy waters."

Plugged In helps college student stand-up for his belief

"Thanks for the great job you do in posting movie and television reviews online. I’m a college freshman and I recently had a confrontational disagreement with my English professor regarding an R-rated film. It is her favorite movie and she wanted to show it in class. I went to your Web site to research the film’s content. Although I had not seen the movie myself, I was able to make an educated argument against it based on the concerns you outlined. The prof said that she was impressed by my stand and decided to poll the whole class and give us a choice. We overwhelmingly voted to watch a G-rated movie instead! I’ve learned that I can trust your site and I will be using it a lot in the future.”

Plugged In brings ‘Sanity and Order’ to Non-believer

“Even though I don’t consider myself a Christian, I find your Plugged In Web site useful and thought-provoking. No one reviews movies like you do. Instead of being judgmental, you put entertainment ‘on trial.’ After presenting the evidence, you allow the jury of your readers to decide for themselves what they should do. In my opinion, you bring sanity and order to the wild world of modern day entertainment. Keep up the good work!”

Mom thinks Plugged In is the ‘BEST Christian media review site’

"Our family doesn't go to the movies until we go online and check out your assessment of a given film. I think this is the BEST Christian media review website that I've found, and I recommend it to my family and friends. Keep up the good work!"


Our hope is that whether you're a parent, youth leader or teen, the information and tools at Plugged In will help you and your family make appropriate media decisions. We are privileged to do the work we do, and are continually thankful for the generosity and support from you, our loyal readers, listeners and friends.

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

Book Review

Ramona and Her Father by Beverly Cleary has been reviewed by Focus on the Family’s marriage and parenting magazine. It is the fourth book in a collection of eight that feature 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

Seven-year-old Ramona Quimby loves spending time with her dad. She looks forward to payday because he often brings her a present or takes the family out to eat. When Ramona's father loses his job, he suddenly can't afford these luxuries. They have leftovers for supper instead of dining out. Even Picky-picky, their cat, is served a discounted brand of canned food that he refuses to eat. Ramona hears her parents whispering and worries about what will happen without enough money to buy food and pay the bills. She crosses off the presents she has written on her Christmas list and instead wishes for a happy family.

To bring in extra money, Ramona's mother begins working full time in a doctor's office, leaving Ramona's father to take care of the housework and stay with the girls after school. At first Ramona thinks it will be fun to spend extra time with her dad, but he is too busy to play with her. When Ramona's father sees a boy singing on a television commercial, he says that boy must have earned a million dollars because the commercial plays so often. Ramona decides to save the family by starring in a television commercial and daydreams about the fancy cars and trips the family will take when she is famous.

Ramona is proud to be the only second-grader whose dad comes to school on teacher conference day. While he talks with Mrs. Rogers, Ramona makes a crown out of sticker burrs to wear as she practices her acting skills. Instead of praising her talent, Ramona's father spends the rest of the day untangling her hair and cutting out the sticker burrs. Realizing that Ramona is frustrated that she can't help the family by becoming a television star, her dad cheers her up by saying that although money is nice, he wouldn't trade her for a million dollars.

At Halloween, Ramona's father carves a fancy jack o' lantern, but Picky-picky is so hungry that he eats it one night after they have gone to bed. Ramona's older sister, Beezus, argues that their cat shouldn't have to eat cheap food when there is enough money for their father to buy cigarettes, which can kill him. The thought of her father dying frightens Ramona so she launches a campaign to help him stop smoking. She and Beezus create dozens of paper signs warning him about the dangers of smoking. They hide the signs among their father's belongings, but to their frustration, he pretends not to notice them and continues his bad habit.

Locked out of the house one day after school, Ramona is afraid that her father has left her because he is angry or that he has been in a terrible accident. When she learns that he has been waiting in line to pick up an unemployment check, she understands that he has worries of his own. Ramona tells her father that she wishes they could be a happy family, and he assures her that they already are.

Beezus must interview an elderly neighbor for a school report, and Ramona tags along. Together they meet with Mrs. Swink, a widow whose memories of childhood include making tin-can stilts. Inspired, Ramona and her friend Howie make stilts from coffee cans and string, and sing songs.

Just before Christmas, Ramona's father gets a job, and Beezus is invited to play the role of Mary in the church Christmas pageant. Feeling left out, Ramona volunteers to be a sheep, but since her mother works all day, she doesn't have time to sew a proper sheep costume. Ramona must wear a makeshift one fashioned from bunny pajamas. Ashamed of her costume, Ramona hides in the church basement and prays to God for help.

Moments before the pageant starts, a participant discovers Ramona and offers to put makeup on her nose so that she will look more like a sheep. Ramona is delighted and hopes that her parents will recognize her. When Ramona's father winks at her from the audience, she understands that they are not only proud of Beezus but of her as well.

Christian Beliefs

Ramona tells her mother about learning to make a joyful noise unto the Lord in Sunday school. Beezus is chosen to play the role of Mary in the Christmas pageant. Beezus looks so tenderly at the blanket that it seems to Ramona that baby Jesus could really be in her arms. During a rainstorm, Ramona looks at the clouds and realizes that above them is the same star that guided the wise men to Bethlehem. While hiding in the church basement, Ramona hopes that God is not too busy to notice her and asks Him to get her out of her predicament. The angels in the Christmas pageant sing, "Joy to the newborn King!"

Other Belief Systems


Authority Roles

Ramona's father and mother are presented as the authority figures at home. They are fair and loving in their relationship with their children. Mrs. Russo and Mrs. Rogers, her teachers at church and school, are also figures of authority. They are balanced in their approach of caring for, teaching and disciplining their students.





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



Newbery Honor Book, 1978


We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

Get weekly e-news, Culture Clips & more!