Two Perspectives

Ramona the Pest (Henry-Ramona #6)
The day has finally come — Ramona has a book from her own point of view! Oh, and she’s also about to start Kindergarten. She’s extremely excited about beginning real school and finally starting on her path to being one of the big kids. In particular she’s sure that she’ll soon be able to read and write and thus be at much less of a disadvantage with her sister (and to a lesser extent, her parents). Cleary is at her best in this book, presenting Ramona and her concerns in a way that would interest the group of children likely to read this book (ages 7-10) without ever once forgetting that she is still five. It’s interesting to see Ramona finally from her own point of view, as until now we’ve never seen what’s going on in her head, just the result as observed by children twice her age. It’s fascinating how you can still see how she’s incomprehensible to her elders, yet to her (and her peers) it all makes perfect sense. Ramona is also a bit ‘the character who got away’ — it’s obvious enough that Cleary just threw her in as an interesting cameo and she slowly came to take over. This is particularly clear in the case of this book, which overlaps with the book Henry and the Clubhouse chronologically. (NOTE: While this book comes #6 chronologically, by publication order it’s actually #8.)

Henry and the Clubhouse (Henry-Ramona #7)
Cleary picks up Henry’s story just a few weeks after the end of Henry and the Paper Route. Now that he’s achieved his dream of having a paper route, Henry finds himself with a gnawing urge to build something. He settles on a clubhouse and eventually is able to acquire some free lumber from a neighbor who’s redoing his garage. Henry and his friends then begin construction — no girls allowed! Clubhouse was written directly after Paper Route and follows it closely. From textual references, it also overlaps considerably with the period of time described in Ramona the Pest, though this book was written about a decade earlier. Cleary didn’t make any obvious efforts to match the events of Pest to the ones in this book, so there are no mentions of several Henry-related incidents which figure prominently in the later Pest. On the other hand, nothing in here really contradicts the later book either. Deserving of particular mention is an early episode in the book where Henry’s mom ends up doing his paper deliveries — Louis Darling has his weaknesses as an illustrator, but the picture of Mrs. Huggins with her hair a mess, standing on a lawn in her heels and with a paper poised to throw was just perfection.

Comments are closed.