Creator / Beverly Cleary
Beverly Cleary is an American children's author.
Her largest and best-known collection of books (too loose-knit to be really a "series", although there is a chronological order) involves a group of children that includes Henry Huggins
(and his dog Ribsy), Henry's friend Beatrice "Beezus" Quimby and her little sister Ramona, and Ramona's friend Howie Kemp. Ramona
is the break-out star character of the series. They were adapted into a TV series in the 1980s (called Ramona
), and a movie (called Ramona and Beezus
) was released in 2010.
Another well-known series by Beverly Cleary begins with The Mouse and the Motorcycle
, about a mouse who befriends a lonely boy and discovers a useful but never-quite-explained ability to drive toy vehicles as if they were real
Part of what makes the books work so well is the portrayal of various events that are a huge deal to a child. Beverly Cleary's insight into the minds of children also creates a large cast of very realistic characters easy for both children and adults to relate to.
Her birthday, April 12th, is designated as "Drop Everything and Read Day" in American elementary schools, in which lessons stop and the students simply read whatever they want silently. As of April 12 2016, she is 100 years young.
Works by Beverly Cleary with their own trope pages include:
Beverly Cleary's other works provide examples of:
- Arc Words: In Otis Spofford, various adults keep warning Otis that "[he'll] get his comeuppance."
- Brilliant, but Lazy: Otis gets in trouble during class because he finishes his schoolwork ahead of itme.
- Can't Get Away with Nuthin': Averted in Otis Spofford since Otis does his best to get into trouble. Otis' class puts on a fake bullfight as part of a school performance, and Otis (as the front half of the bull) goes off script and causes the bull to win the fight. As the teacher is preparing to chew him out, several parents approach and tell her how hilarious the fight was and what a good idea it was to have the bull win. Otis doesn't get in trouble from the teacher, and outruns the two boys who played the toreador and the back half of the bull.
- A Day in the Limelight: Otis Spofford, whose title character originally had a supporting role in Ellen Tebbits.
- Dude, Not Funny!: Invoked in Otis Spofford when Otis cuts Ellen's hair and rather then laugh, the class just stares at Otis. Even Otis realizes almost right away that he went way too far; pride prevents him from apologizing, however.
- Gone Horribly Wrong: Ellen Tebbits's plan to bring in a biennial beet to class results in her making her clothes filthy from digging the beet up, and ruining her dress by getting it stained with beet juice. Plus she almost gets in a lot of trouble for taking the beet without permission, and does get written up for arriving to school late.
- Humiliation Conga: Happens to Otis Spofford at the end of his book. Ellen and Austine steal his shoes while he's ice skating in retaliation for Otis' having cut Ellen's hair, making him walk home in his ice skates to the amusement of all the kids and irritation of all the adults he meets.
- Jerkass: Otis Spofford. Played straight in Ellen Tebbits and deconstructed in his own book.
- Radish Cure: In Otis Spofford, the title character's teacher has him make spitballs exclusively as punishment for shooting them.
- Cleary also includes a story in her autobiography of some boys who chewed garlic in class. The principal finally bought a dollar's worth of garlic—this was in the 1930s—and had them chew it all.
- Serious Business: Frequently. Justified in that the books are told from a child's perspective, in which things like paper routes and school art projects really are serious business.
- Sitcom Arch-Nemesis: Ellen Tebbits and Otis Spofford, to each other. Otis got started antagonizing Ellen because his mother is Ellen's ballet teacher, and he's usually (but not always) the instigator.
- Tomboy and Girly Girl: Ellen Tebbits (girly girl) and her best friend Austine Allen (tomboy).
- Villain Protagonist: Otis Spofford in Otis Spofford.