Monday, July 2, 2012

The Beverly Cleary Review

Beginning last June, we set off on a quest to read aloud any Beverly Cleary book we could get our hands on.  We've almost completed the list, but we're taking a breather to sample another author.  As much as I've loved her writing, I am slightly weary of it!  I've been asked which books I recommend and where to start.  Below is my quick guide to Beverly Cleary

The Ralph S. Mouse books were actually the first chapter books I ever read aloud to my kids, back in 2006 when Gavin was not-quite 4 and Maddie was a napping 2-year-old.

Last summer, the Ramona books were where we began.  They were the first chapter books that had ever fully engaged (then) 4-year-old Owen.  The series follows Ramona from a mischievous, annoying preschooler to a maturing fifth grader.  My children still assign characters and "play" Ramona.  

We moved on to Henry in the winter.  The Henry books are all boy!  Though they still engaged Maddie, my boys loved and related to the the mud and fishing and bike riding fun most of all.

Next we started in on the stand-alone novels.  This is where we currently stand, with only 2 more to go. I'm not sure which character was more beloved: Socks, the kitten who feels displaced by the new baby in the house,  ballet-dancer Ellen, or the teasing Otis Spofford.  I think it depends which of my children you ask. 

Amongst all the chapter book reading, we also sampled Beverly Cleary's picture books about the toddler twins who have gentle, everyday adventures.  These are easily read in one sitting.

Beverly Cleary  wrote several novels for older girls, but since I didn't think my children would enjoy stories of weddings and dating and mushy stuff, we chose to skip these for now. 

There were two more stand-alone novels that we chose to skip.  Both deal with divorce and since this wasn't a topic I wanted my children to be fully exposed to, we passed. 


  1. I'm so glad you posted this, I've been meaning to start on some of these books, but could decide which to do first. I think we'll go with Ralph first.

    I just pinned your post to my books to read board.

  2. i loved ramona books growing up and have picked up any i can find at rummage sales. :)

  3. The first chapter book I read as a kid was Ramona. I loved it so much I hid a flashlight under the covers so I could read when I was supposed to be sleeping. I just started reading Ramona to my 5 year old, and she loves the books as much as I did!


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