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.
Works by Beverly Cleary with their own trope pages include:
Beverly Cleary's other works provide examples of:
- Aww, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: One of the central themes of Mitch and Amy. Happens between Ramona and Beezus too.
- The Bully: Alan Hibbler in Mitch and Amy. Henry Huggins' older friend Scooter briefly turns into a bully when he and Henry get into competition for a paper route.
- Dude, Not Funny!: Invoked in Otis Spofford when Otis cuts Ellen's hair and rather than laugh, the class just stares at Otis.
- Dungeon Bypass: In Ralph S. Mouse, the kids build a maze for Ralph to run. Ralph climbs on top of the walls to look for the cheese, to the annoyance of the kids (who were building the maze to see how smart Ralph was in the first place).
- 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 got written up for arriving to school late.
- Humiliation Conga: Happens to the bully Alan at the end of Mitch and Amy, starting when he loudly and publicly misspells a word and ends when he gets leg swept by a girl.
- Jerkass: Otis Spofford. Played straight in Ellen Tebbits and deconstructed in his own book.
- Let Him Choose: In one of the books with Henry and Ribsy, Ribsy's original owner shows up and wants his dog back. They decide to let Ribsy choose. He goes with Henry, of course.
- Polar Opposite Twins: Mitch and Amy in Mitch and Amy.
- 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.
- Sitcom Arch-Nemesis: Ellen Tebbits and Otis Spofford.
- Surprisingly Functional Toys: The Mouse and the Motorcycle and sequels.