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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 the Pest by Beverly Cleary has been reviewed by Focus on the Family’s marriage and parenting magazine. It is the first book in the "Ramona" series.

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

Five-year-old Ramona Quimby is thrilled to begin kindergarten and loves her teacher, Miss Binney. When the class laughs at her show-and-tell doll's name, Chevrolet, her teacher defends it, and Miss Binney allows Ramona to write the letter Q, decorated like a cat with whiskers and a tail, after her name. When a substitute teacher replaces Miss Binney, Ramona is upset. Her sister Beezus and the principal help her return to class.

Ramona has good intentions, but they go awry. She loves a classmate's springy curls and cannot resist playing with them, which lands her in trouble. She wants to be the naptime wake-up fairy. To show how she is resting properly, she snores and therefore isn't chosen. She and a classmate fight over a red ribbon, and she chases another classmate, Davy, to kiss him. One rainy day, Ramona finds a worm and wears it around her finger like an engagement ring. When Henry Huggins rescues her from mud, Ramona declares that she will marry Henry instead of Davy — and Davy is glad.

At Halloween, Ramona dresses up as a witch but discovers that being covered by a mask can feel scary. She fears that she has lost her identity. She makes and carries a sign that has her name with her animated Q on it. When Ramona loses a tooth at school, she becomes so excited that she can't stop playing with Susan's curls. Miss Binney sends Ramona home. Feeling that her teacher doesn't love her anymore, Ramona decides that she will never return to kindergarten. Later that day, a classmate brings her a letter from Miss Binney that asks her to come back to kindergarten. Ramona decides to return.

Christian Beliefs


Other Belief Systems

Ramona dresses like a witch for Halloween, but there is no discussion of witchcraft.

Authority Roles

Ramona's father and mother are presented as the authority figures at home. Miss Binney, Ramona's kindergarten teacher, establishes rules that the students must abide by and enforces consequences when rules are broken. Miss Mullen, the principal of Glenwood School, escorts Ramona back to class when she tries to hide from a substitute teacher.


There is name-calling by Ramona and the other children in the story, such as "tattletale" or "crybaby," but nothing profane.


Ramona tells Davy, a boy in her kindergarten class, that she is going to kiss him and chases him around the schoolyard each morning as the rest of the class encourages him to run away from her.

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



Georgia Children's Book Award (1969-1970); Nene Award (Hawaii) (1971); Sequoyah Children's Book Award (Oklahoma) (1971)


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

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