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Literature / Ramona Quimby

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A well-known children's book series by Beverly Cleary about a girl named Ramona Quimby, whose age ranges from 4 to 10 as we see different years of her life.

The first two books in the series were illustrated, as were most of Cleary's books in the 1950s and 1960s, by Louis Darling. After Darling's death in 1970, Alan Tiegreen took over as illustrator through 1984's Ramona Forever and also drew the cover art for Ramona's World. Later editions of the first two books also featured new cover art by Tiegreen.

The series has been made into a short-lived TV show in Canada, simply called Ramona and starring a young Sarah Polley in the title role. This show emphasizes the light drama found in the books over the light humor, and is most heavily based on Ramona Quimby, Age 8, but with a few episodes drawing on Ramona and Her Mother and Ramona Forever too. The series, a Canadian/West German coproduction, lasted 10 episodes from 1988-89 and was aired on PBS in the United States and CBC in Canada.


A movie, titled Ramona and Beezus, starring Selena Gomez as Beezus and Joey King as Ramona, was made in 2010.

The list of books includes:

  • Beezus and Ramona (1955) — Ramona is in preschool, and the story is mostly about Beezus, who is turning nine. This is more of a bridge between the earlier Henry Huggins series and Ramona's own, as Beezus never actually had her own series but was a character in Henry's.
  • Ramona the Pest (1968) — Ramona is in kindergarten. Too-perfect Susan, and poor struggling Davy, are introduced. This is the first book to be told from Ramona's point of view.
  • Ramona the Brave (1975) — Ramona is in first grade.
  • Ramona and her Father (1977) — Ramona is in second grade.
  • Ramona and her Mother (1979) — Ramona is still in second grade.
  • Ramona Quimby, Age 8 (1981) — Ramona is in third grade. Yard Ape, a male friend/rival, is introduced.
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  • Ramona Forever (1984) — Ramona is in between third and fourth grade, during the summer. A new baby sister, Roberta, is born.
  • Ramona's World (1999) — Ramona is in fourth grade. A new female friend, Daisy, is introduced.

Ramona Quimby, Age 8 and Ramona and her Father are the two Newbery Honor books of the series.

This series contains examples of:

  • Accidental Misnaming:
    • How the eldest child in the Quimby family, Beatrice, came to be called Beezus: when Ramona was learning to talk, she couldn't pronounce "Beatrice" correctly, and the name stuck.
    • In one of the books, an elderly neighbor lady always calls Ramona "Juanita," and Ramona is afraid to correct her for fear of being thought disrespectful.
  • Actually Pretty Funny:
    • In Beezus and Ramona, Aunt Beatrice and Dorothy laugh hysterically when they talk about their bickering as a kid. Even Beezus admits the autograph album fiasco — when Aunt Beatrice wrote her name in every page of an autograph album that Dorothy had scrimped and saved to buy — is hilarious, and it reassures her that one day she'll find Ramona's mischief funny when they both get older.
    • Aunt Beatrice overhears Howie singing a snarky version of "Here Comes the Bride" while they're waiting for the ceremony to start. Though Ramona shushes him, Aunt Beatrice laughs.
  • Adult Fear:
    • The narration mentions there was one time Ramona tried walking to find the end of the rainbow without telling her parents or Beezus. After making it as far as the supermarket, the police bring her home. While Mr. Quimby only remarks that Ramona has too much imagination sometimes, it's hinted it was Lies to Children so that Beezus wouldn't freak out.
    • There's a bit where Ramona vanishes while Beezus is getting a snack and watching her. Beezus briefly panics that Ramona might have gone outside and started wandering again to explore the world, since she had explained about Christopher Columbus to her. Then she realizes she hasn't checked the basement and goes down.
    • Ramona shoves her doll Bendix in the oven while Mrs. Quimby is baking Beezus's birthday cake, causing it and the cake to start burning rubber, while pretending to be Gretel. Beezus is more angry and saddened that her cake is ruined, but Mrs. Quimby in hindsight realizes that Ramona could have easily started a house fire. She chides Ramona and says she knows better than to play with the oven because it's dangerous.
    • Mr. Quimby losing his job, and the subsequent toll it takes on the family. He takes up smoking to deal with the stress while going to and from the unemployment office or heading to shifts as a cashier. Mrs. Quimby starts going to work part-time in a doctor's office, and they have to buy discount cat food that Picky-Picky hates. When the girls convince Mr. Quimby to go cold turkey because they're worried he'll develop lung cancer, he becomes irritable and grumpier.
    • Picky-Picky's death. Beezus goes down to the basement to check on him because Ramona forgot to let him out, and Ramona realizes she didn't hear him meowing. Beezus screams, and she realizes that Picky-Picky must have died in his sleep. They conspire to bury him before their parents come home, since their dad asked them not to worry their mother. Mr. Quimby looks guilty when he finds out later, saying he would have taken care of the funeral if he had known.
    • The scene where Ramona nearly falls through Daisy's attic. She's trapped for a bit until Daisy's brother can rescue her, and feels guilty that the floor and ceiling are damaged. Daisy's mother tells her that doesn't matter; what's important is that Ramona was not hurt.
  • Age-Appropriate Angst: Ramona's problems are treated as Serious Business, but they're all things kids her current age can relate to. These include being late for school, having to deal with a substitute in place of her favorite teacher, and worrying about getting the wrong kind of sandwich in her lunch.
  • Age-Stereotypical Food: In one book, Ramona gets given a kids' menu but doesn't like the sound of any of the dishes, so she orders a hamburger and fries from the adult menu instead.
  • Alpha Bitch: Although she's only mentioned, Beezus's classmate Pamela appears to be one of these. She's rich and popular so all the girls want to be like her. She's also always asking Beezus when her father is going to get a real job, causing Beezus to no longer want anything to do with her.
  • Always Someone Better: Susan is pretty, sweet, and good at looking good in front of adults. Ramona envies and is jealous of her and it colors their relation for the entire run of the series.
  • Annoying Younger Sibling:
    • Ramona to Beezus, especially when she was younger. She constantly bugs Beezus to play with her when Beezus wants to do other things and often embarrasses her in front of others (such as stealing one of her classmates' candy, disrupting the board game she was playing with Henry, and destroying Beezus's birthday cake by shoving her doll inside the batter while it was in the oven).
    • Aunt Beatrice admits that she was one as a child to Mrs. Quimby. She dyed Dorothy's doll's hair black and ruined her autograph book by writing her name on every page.
    • Willa Jean to Howie, for similar reasons as Ramona: noisy and attention-seeking. In the later books, Ramona bristles at any suggestion — especially by Beezus — that she was once just like Willa Jean, even though we, the readers who have been following the series, know just how true it is.
  • Anxiety Dreams: In Ramona The Brave, Ramona is having trouble adjusting to the first grade. She's also sleeping in her own room for the first time, which makes her afraid of the dark. She tells her mother about a nightmare where something horrible is chasing her and she can't run. Beezus comments that she's had the same dream and that it's awful.
  • As the Good Book Says...: Ramona the Brave opens with Beezus being humiliated by a group of boys who shout, "Jesus, Beezus!" when they overhear Ramona calling her Beezus. Ramona scolds the boys for taking the Lord's name in vain, and thus Beezus is angrier at Ramona than at the boys.
  • Ascended Extra: Beezus and Ramona, ascended from extras in the Henry Huggins series, and Ramona herself within her own book series starting with Ramona the Pest.
  • Aw, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: Ramona and Beezus might be at odds a lot of the time, but they have affectionate moments throughout the series too. One example is in Ramona and Her Mother, when both girls are upset after their parents have a fight, and Beezus lets Ramona sleep in her bed with her and promises to take care of her if their parents divorce (which of course they don't). But probably the most memorable moment like this comes after the family cat Picky Picky dies in Ramona Forever. The incident causes them to bond and grow closer than ever before.
  • Baby See, Baby Do: In a chapter of Ramona's World, Ramona sticks her tongue out at her baby sister Roberta, and Roberta copies her.
  • Being Good Sucks: Invoked by Beezus in Ramona and Her Mother when her mother refuses to let her get a beauty-salon haircut instead of a home haircut, and Beezus grouses that she's tired of being "the sensible one". She further adds that while no one cares if Ramona acts out, she is supposed to keep on being "good old sensible Beezus."
  • Berserk Button:
    • Ramona's is when people find her amusing when she is trying to be serious. She also hates being told to grow up; for example, Beezus says this to her in Ramona The Brave, and Ramona screams, "CAN'T YOU SEE I'M TRYING!?" at the top of her lungs.
    • Beezus's is her acne. Ramona triggered it inadvertently by calling her 'pizzaface'. Ramona just meant it as a variation on 'pieface', but Beezus took it as an insult at her acne and got extremely offended by it.
  • Birth/Death Juxtaposition: Ramona and Beezus learn that their mother is pregnant shortly after they have to bury the family cat.
  • Bookends: Beezus and Ramona ends with Beezus's tenth birthday. Ramona's World ends with Ramona's tenth birthday.
  • Boyish Short Hair: All three series illustrators, Louis Darling, Alan Tiegreen, and Tracy Dockray, depict Ramona with short brown hair that fits her tomboyish nature.
  • Bratty Half-Pint: Willa Jean, Howie's little sister, who is four years younger than Ramona and Howie. Both Ramona and Howie can't stand her, and especially the fact that Willa Jean never seems to get in trouble for the things she does. Or the fact that Ramona is blamed when Willa Jean does something wrong because supposedly looking after a bratty little kid is another kid's job. She does, however, get a lot better in Ramona Forever (the last book she appeared in). Ramona, however, wasn't too different from her when she was Willa Jean's age.
  • Breakout Character: Ramona and Beezus first appeared as side characters in Henry Huggins. It's surprising when you read Henry Huggins to see just how little Beezus and Ramona were in it. Beezus is just one of Henry's neighbourhood friends and she and Mary Jane are Those Two Guys (with Beezus as the tomboy and Mary Jane as the girly girl). Ramona is only mentioned a few times as Beezus's younger sister. Their roles were greatly expanded in Henry and Beezus and, of course, they eventually got their own series.
  • Break the Cutie: Ramona has an instance of at least one of these in every book except Ramona's World, but the most obvious instances are in Ramona The Brave and Ramona Quimby, Age 8.
  • Brutal Honesty: An amusing one from Ramona in Beezus and Ramona. Mrs. Quimby sends her to her room for disrupting Beezus's and Henry's checker game. A few minutes later, Ramona opens the door and asks if she can come out now. Mrs. Quimby asks if she can stop bothering Henry and Beezus. One might expect Ramona to say yes and end her punishment, but instead, she just says, "No," and closes the door.
    • In Ramona the Pest, Ramona gets in trouble for constantly yanking her nemesis Susan's curly hair. When Miss Binney asks Ramona if she can control herself and stop pulling Susan's hair, Ramona knows she won't be able to resist the temptation and truthfully answers that she can't. As a result, Miss Binney sends Ramona home and tells her not to come back until she can behave, and Ramona, thinking Miss Binney doesn't like her anymore, is devastated.
  • Buffy Speak: Naturally, since most of the main characters aren't even in their teens. Ramona herself is a proud offender:
    Stuff was a perfectly good, handy, multipurpose word and easy to spell, too.
  • Canon Discontinuity: In Beezus and Ramona, Beezus and Henry were evenly matched at checkers, whereas in the earlier Henry Huggins series, Beezus trouncing Henry at checkers was a running gag. Maybe Henry got better.
  • Character Development: Ramona in the Henry Huggins books was a Bratty Half-Pint that is used to having her way. Even Beezus called her out for that in Beezus and Ramona about the library book fiasco. Ramona and Her Mother features that she has grown up a lot at the hair salon school where Beezus wants her cut; when Robert the owner asks if she would like a cut as well, Ramona politely declines at first because "we are scrimping and pinching to make ends meet", to her mother's amused exasperation. When Robert offers a discount of half-price and says there's no wait, Mrs. Quimby says Ramona's hair does need cutting, and she gets a nice pixie style with heart-shaped bangs. Ramona feels bad for Beezus on seeing how her cut turned out, saying she wishes they could both look good. It shows how much more considerate Ramona has become.
  • Character Overlap: Occasionally features Henry Huggins and several other characters from his own books. Justified, as both series take place in the same neighbourhood.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Ramona's World is prone to this; Henry Huggins isn't so much as mentioned, even though he'd appeared in all the Ramona books previously and hadn't moved away or stopped being friends with Beezus or anything. Beezus's friend Mary Jane isn't mentioned at all either.
  • Closest Thing We Got: Ramona and Beezus end up substituting banana yogurt for buttermilk, cream of wheat for cornmeal, and apricot jam for jelly while cooking dinner for their parents in Ramona Quimby, Age 8.
  • Comic-Book Time: All books take place when they were written. This means that Ramona ages from a preschooler to a fourth-grader while experiencing more than four decades. This results in some slight Anachronism Stew when it comes to social and speaking norms. For example, Ramona's World, written in 1999, when the author was in her late 70s, adds more modern speech elements such as the overuse of "stuff" in kids' dialog (e.g. "We brought snacks and stuff.") while still using the old-fashioned word "cross" to mean "angry"/"annoyed".
  • Compressed Vice: Mr. Quimby has a smoking problem in Ramona and her Father. He never seemed to have that problem before, but Ramona hadn't really thought about it before. It got brought up when Beezus angrily asked why he could afford to smoke when the family couldn't afford decent food for the cat. He might also have taken it up due to the stress of losing his job.
  • Continuity Nod: In Ramona and her Father Ramona remembers her mother making her a devil costume when she was younger. In Henry and the Clubhouse Ramona is dressed as a devil for Halloween, which Henry finds appropriate.
  • Cool and Unusual Punishment: After refusing to eat the tongue that their mother made for one Saturday evening, on a day where Ramona was already angry at her mother for putting a raw egg in her lunch, the parents decide that the girls can try to cook dinner on Sunday to give Mrs. Quimby the night off. This is lampshaded by Beezus, and the girls resent that, so they try to get out of it by being on their best behavior. When that fails, they have to improvise with what's in the kitchen. They learn exactly what their mother deals with while trying to make a full meal while leaving a mess behind in the kitchen.
  • Cordon Bleugh Chef: Mr. Quimby's idea of cooking is to throw everything in a pan and stir until done, although he is good at making pancakes.
    Sometimes he invented interesting dishes with ground meat and eggs, zucchini and cheese. Other times the family tried to be good sports at dinner.
  • Covers Always Lie: Some reprintings of Ramona and Her Mother showcase Ramona trying to hide the famous "toothpaste cake" from her mom — it's actually Beezus who finds it.
  • Creative Sterility: In Beezus and Ramona, Beezus laments the fact that she has trouble being creative in art class, while her little sister has more imagination than she knows what to do with. To her surprise, when she thinks of Ramona's imaginary pet lizard, then notices a lollipop her classmate is eating, she is inspired to paint a dragon that breathes clouds of cotton candy and has lollipops for spines.
  • Creepy Basement: Ramona and Howie sometimes use this to their advantage. Willa Jean won't go into the Kemp's basement because she's afraid of the furnace, so Ramona and Howie will retreat to the basement to stop her from bothering them.
  • A Day in the Limelight: Beezus and Ramona is the first to focus on those characters after they'd played a supporting role in the Henry Huggins books, and the only book written from Beezus' point of view.
  • Demoted to Extra: Henry Huggins, the protagonist of the previous series, barely gets any mention in the Ramona series.
  • Death by Newbery Medal: Ramona Quimby, Age 8 and Ramona and Her Father avert this trope. Despite each novel winning a Newbery Honor, neither book has anyone die. In Ramona Forever the family cat Picky Picky dies of old age, but this trope is downplayed: the loss itself adds less to Ramona's character development than her sisterly bonding with Beezus does as they bury him together and resolve an earlier misunderstanding.
  • Do Not Call Me "Paul": A reverse of this trope applies with Beezus in Ramona the Brave, when she demands to be called by her birth name of Beatrice after some boys overhear Ramona calling her Beezus and tease Beezus for it. She gets over it after a little while and lets her family say Beezus again, but from then on Ramona is only allowed to call her Beatrice in public.
  • Embarrassing Nickname: Beezus's nickname is somewhat of a source of embarrassment for her. In Beezus and Ramona, it's mentioned that Beezus is tired of having to explain how she got that nickname whenever Ramona introduces her as "Beezus" instead of her birth name and that she wishes she had a more common nickname, like Betty or Patsy. In Ramona the Brave, the nickname temporarily becomes a Berserk Button for Beezus after some boys at the park taunt her with, "Jesus, Beezus!" when they overhear Ramona calling her that. Eventually, she agrees to let Ramona call her Beezus at home as long as she does not do it in public.
  • Endangered Soufflé: A variant; during Beezus's birthday in Beezus and Ramona, she gets upset when Ramona ruins two of her birthday cakes. The first time, Ramona as an experiment shoves a dozen eggs, shells and all, into the batter, and starts the electric mixer. To distract her while Mother bakes the second cake, Beezus reads "Hansel and Gretel" to Ramona; when Ramona pretends to be Hansel, spilling cracker crumbs on the rug, Beezus suggests that she pretends to be Gretel instead. Ramona then shoves her doll into the oven while the cake is baking, pretending to push the witch in to get baked. The rubber and plastic ruin the cake so that Mother asks Aunt Beatrice to buy one from the store.
  • Entertainingly Wrong: Howie doesn't have anything for the kindergarten's first Show and Tell, and at her mother's urging, Ramona returns to her house and grabs a stuffed rabbit Picky Picky has been using for a hunting target so he'll have something to share. When Miss Binney can't coax Howie to tell them about the toy, she ventures something on her own — obviously, the bunny has been very loved because of how worn it looks.
  • Exact Eavesdropping: Ramona goes into Heroic BSoD when she hears Ms. Whaley calling her a "little showoff" and says "what a nuisance!" Later on, when she talks to Ms. Whaley about it, Ms. Whaley clarifies that she meant the raw egg was a nuisance. As for Ramona being a showoff, Ramona explains that she was only doing what everyone else was doing and Ms. Whaley apologizes.
  • Express Lane Limit: Mr. Quimby works as a supermarket cashier for a while. The express lane has a nine-item limit, but customers frequently try to sneak through with ten or eleven items. The customers often count the items in each other's baskets and argue among themselves. Naturally, Mr. Quimby dislikes working the express lane.
  • Epic Fail:
    • Ramona accidentally locks Ribsy into the bathroom while trying to punish him for stealing her cookie. Then she has to use the bathroom. Mrs. Quimby then takes her next door and learns from a neighbor how to unlock the door.
    • Due to hardboiled eggs being a fad, Ramona asks her mother to put them in her lunch. One day, Ms. Quimby accidentally puts a raw egg in Ramona's lunch, and Ramona cracks it against her head because that's also the trend. As a result, she has to get her hair washed by the school secretary.
    • According to Ramona, the letter Q written in cursive. It just looks like a sloppily written number 2.
  • Eskimos Aren't Real: Played with but ultimately averted in Ramona Forever. Ramona tells her family about Howie's rich uncle, who has been traveling in what sounds like a made-up country — Saudi Arabia.
  • Fashion Hurts: Ramona's and Beezus's shoes pinch their feet in Ramona Forever. They find a better use for them. Subverted when it turns out that this was by accident; their mother hadn't realized the girls outgrew their shoes.
  • Feeling the Baby Kick: Ramona Forever has Mrs. Quimby pregnant with Roberta. When Ramona asks Mrs. Quimby if the baby hurts, she replies that it doesn't hurt, but it does kick and invites Ramona to feel the baby kicking.
  • Floorboard Failure: In Ramona's World, Ramona falls halfway through the unfinished floor of her new friend Daisy's attic. She's very annoyed when she tries to tell the story at the dinner table with what she feels is an appropriate amount of drama, and her older sister interrupts, saying how easy it is to step onto the plaster and that she knows someone who fell all the way through.
  • Foolish Sibling, Responsible Sibling:
    • Even after outgrowing her Annoying Younger Sibling tendencies, Ramona is still the wilder, more impulsive, and more imaginative sister than Beezus ever was.
    • Not shown on-screen, but this is how Mrs. Quimby describes her childhood relationship with her younger sister, Bea. Dorothy was the homely, sensible sibling who diligently saves up her allowance, while Beatrice was the active, outdoorsy type who spends all her pocket money on junk the moment she gets them.
  • Foreign Remake: The 1980s series moved the setting from Portland, Oregon to Southern Ontario, Canada, with the serial numbers filed off.
  • Full-Name Ultimatum: Ramona knows she's in big trouble when she's called either "Ramona Geraldine Quimby" or "Young Lady".
  • Fun with Acronyms: In Ramona Quimby, Age 8, Ramona's class's silent reading time is designated as DEAR, "Drop Everything and Read." Ramona prefers her teacher's original term for it, "Sustained Silent Reading," however, because it sounds more grown-up.
  • Generation Xerox: Mrs. Quimby and her sister Beatrice were just like Beezus and Ramona when they were young girls, with Dorothy being the responsible older sister and Beatrice being the annoying younger sister.
  • Gift-Giving Gaffe: Uncle Hobart, apparently not knowing a lot about kids, gives Willa Jean an accordion that she couldn't possibly learn how to play until she's much older. Not surprisingly, she breaks it within less than an hour.
  • Gone Horribly Right: Ms. Binney sends Ramona home from kindergarten until she can behave after she catches Ramona pulling Susan's hair and without giving Ramona back the girl's baby tooth. This ends up sending Ramona into Heroic BSoD because she believes that Ms. Binney doesn't like her and doesn't want to see her, and she refuses to return until Ms. Binney "forgets about her". No one knows how to persuade Ramona to go back to school until Ms. Binney sends a letter with the tooth and asks her to return.
  • Go to Your Room!: Ramona is frequently sent to her room for misbehaving, particularly in the earlier novels. She also tries to administer this punishment herself in Beezus and Ramona. Ribsy the dog steals a cookie from her, so she leads him into the bathroom and tells him to stay in there until he can be a good dog. Ribsy ends up locked in the bathroom, which no one in the house is happy about.
  • Gosh Dang It to Heck!: Ramona yells "GUTS!" in Ramona the Brave when trying to curse. Not only is no one shocked, they actually think it's funny.
  • Grossout Fakeout: In "Beezus and Ramona", Ramona puts her friends off their food by claiming there are worms in the cookies.
  • Hates Baths: Ramona hates having her hair washed as a toddler. Whenever Mrs. Quimby washes her hair, Ramona squirms around and screams the whole time. She gets better about it when she gets older.
  • Have a Gay Old Time: "With grey thread, Beezus carefully outlined the steam coming from the teakettle's spout and thought about her pretty young aunt, who was always so gay and understanding." from Beezus and Ramona. Although this was published in the mid-50s, gay as in "homosexual" and not "happy" started to catch on during that time.
  • Hidden Depths: Some characters introduced in early books reveal additional depth in later books, giving insight into why they are the way they are.
    • Davy, the shy boy who Ramona wants to kiss in kindergarten. It's mentioned in passing that his parents' divorce when he's in second grade, implying that maybe his school troubles were related to home troubles (and one passage in Ramona the Brave suggests he's dyslexic).
    • Susan, the spoiled too-perfect girl whose curls grab Ramona's attention to her own detriment. She has a breakdown in fourth grade about having "to be perfect all the time".
    • The Ramona series itself was a spin-off from the Henry Huggins books, which focused around Beezus' implied boyfriend Henry and his adventures with his dog Ribsy. Ramona, in contrast, was rarely the focus of any scene and was more of a nuisance than anything.
    • In Yard Ape's first scene, he is introduced as little more than a bully when he steals Ramona's new eraser but Ramona grows to secretly like him after he starts behaving more nicely towards her and reveals himself to be much less of a jerk than he first seems (he also eventually gives her the eraser back.) He is noted to be very smart and always makes good grades even though he is also shown to be very rowdy and still likes to pick on Ramona, albeit more good-naturedly, with Ramona usually reciprocating. He also goes out of his way to be kind to Ramona when she has a bad day in third grade, writes her a genuine get-well card when she gets sick, and in fourth grade he writes her a small poem. By the end of "Ramona Forever" it's also all but outright stated that he and Ramona have a crush on each other, although both try to hide it from the other.
  • Hoist by Their Own Petard: Both Mrs. Kemp and Willa Jean suffer this after Mrs. Kemp blames Ramona for Willa Jean breaking the accordion Uncle Hobart gave her. The Quimbys all get an Everyone Has Standards moment when Ramona cries over dinner, and they agree that if Ramona and Beezus come straight home after school, it shouldn't be a problem to avoid the Kemps indefinitely. From what we hear offscreen, neither Mrs. Kemp nor Willa Jean is pleased with this. Now that Ramona is no longer providing free babysitting for the younger girl, Howie has no reason to hang around at home while trying out his new unicycle, leaving Willa Jean with her strict grandmother. It also means Mrs. Kemp has no scapegoat and only herself to blame when Willa Jean gets in trouble. Willa Jean eventually calls on the phone begging for Ramona to come to play with her again but is too little to realize the reason why Ramona stopped coming. Howie also starts behaving obnoxiously when he's forced to be the ring-bearer in his uncle's wedding, ensuring Mrs. Kemp is not having a good time with her older grandchild.
  • Hope Spot:
    • In Beezus and Ramona the first chapter details that Beezus hopes to find another book to read to Ramona that doesn't have steam shovels in it at the library. Ramona ends up getting another book about steam shovels, though it is better than what they have at home, and she scribbles in it on the due date so that Beezus has to pay for the damage and they end up owning the book anyway.
    • Subverted in Beezus and Ramona's last chapter. Ramona ruins Beezus's first birthday cake by tossing all the eggs into the batter and turning on the mixer "to see what would happen". To distract Ramona Beezus reads "Hansel and Gretel" to her until the cake is in the oven, but makes the mistake of telling Ramona to pretend to be Gretel rather than Hansel when Ramona spills cracker crumbs all over the carpet. This leads to Ramona opening the oven and tossing her doll into the cake pan, which ruins the second cake. Fortunately, Mrs. Quimby thinks to call Aunt Beatrice to buy a cake, which averts the disaster.
    • After getting laid off, Mr. Quimby spends a whole book trying to find a job, finally getting one as a cashier. Finally, the family can relax, right? Wrong. It turns out he hates his job and decides to go back to college while working part-time at an ice house. Then just as he gets a teaching degree for art, there are no teaching jobs in the city. He does manage to get a manager job, which is better than being a cashier.
  • Hypocritical Heartwarming: Especially in the earlier books, Beezus often finds Ramona irritating and teases her sometimes, but she won't let anyone from outside the family pick on her.
  • I Ate WHAT?!: Beezus and Ramona are horrified to discover that the meat they were enjoying is actually tongue.
  • Important Haircut: Subverted. Beezus wants this to happen with a salon cut, that it will make her look like a cool ice-skater and give her confidence. The Surprisingly Realistic Outcome is that at a beauty school where the prices are discounted, the student working on her is an amateur and overdoes it on the hairspray. Even when Beezus washes out the spray, her hair looks the same.
  • I Resemble That Remark!:
    • In Ramona The Brave, Mrs. Quimby comments that Ramona seems cranky this morning. Ramona insists she's not cranky, but the fierce scowl on her face tells a different story.
    • In Beezus and Ramona, Ramona is acting sulky at the dinner table and Mrs. Quimby says, "Where's my Merry Sunshine?" Ramona scowls and then yells, "I am too a Merry Sunshine!" After a few moments, she repeats this sentence, then runs out of the room when told Go to Your Room!.
    • Also in Ramona Quimby Age 8 Ramona gets grumpy after her second day in bed with the stomach flu. Mrs. Quimby smiles and says she knows Ramona is getting better because she's "acting like a wounded tiger." Ramona in a grumpy tone informs her, "I'm not acting like a wounded tiger."
  • Inconsistent Coloring: Mr. and Mrs. Quimby have dark hair in the Alan Tiegreen illustrations, but light-colored hair in the Tracy Dockray illustrations. Which is rather odd, because all illustrations depict Ramona and Beezus with dark hair.
  • In-Series Nickname: Beezus is actually named Beatrice, but almost nobody calls her that.
  • Insistent Terminology: When Mr. Quimby loses his job, the Quimby parents insist that he was not "fired" — since he did not lose his job for something he did wrong.
  • Jerkass: Mrs. Kemp, Howie's grandmother. She has very little redeeming moments and keeps blaming Ramona for things that Willa Jean does, even though Willa Jean is her grandchild and thus her responsibility. The Rage Breaking Point is when Ramona cries at dinner when recounting getting blamed for Willa Jean breaking an accordion gift, and the Quimbys decide that Ramona can come straight home if Beezus watches her.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: In the last chapter of Ramona's World, Ramona doesn't want to invite Susan to her fourth-grade birthday party, and cites that her too-perfect snobby attitude will ruin the party. Mrs. Quimby tells her not to be rude and invites Susan anyway. Sure enough, Ramona is proven right; Susan says her mother told her to not have cake because the frosting would have Ramona's germs on it, which briefly grosses out the guests. Daisy bluntly says there's nothing wrong with the cake and everyone calls out Susan for her rudeness.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Yard Ape. He hassles Ramona a lot and in his first scene stole her new eraser. He also sticks up for her when she's nearly in tears over her teacher having been mean, and when she's sick with the flu sends her a unique get-well-soon card instead of copying from the blackboard like most of the kids did.
  • Jerkass Realization: Offscreen, Ms. Binney has this when she sends Ramona home and the girl refuses to return for days on end, and Ms. Binney didn't even give Ramona her baby tooth. It's unknown if Mrs. Quimby told Ms. Binney about Ramona wanting her teacher to "forget about her" but the lady is no fool. She sends the tooth with a letter for Ramona asking her to come back. It's not exactly an apology, but it convinces Ramona to attend school.
  • Jobless Parent Drama: In Ramona and her Father, Ramona's father loses his job. While Ramona is initially excited to spend more time with her father, the stress of cutting costs and trying to make ends meet leaves her entire family cranky. Ramona tries various ways to earn money on her own, but they all backfire and she laments the loss of her "happy family". This culminates in a scene where her father reassures her that they still are a happy family — but even happy families sometimes argue or go through stressful times.
  • Karma Houdini Warranty:
    • Ramona resents how Susan appears perfect but isn't, especially when the latter copied her owl in first grade. Susan's immaturity is revealed at Ramona's birthday party in fourth-grade when she says her mother made her bring an apple because the cake has germs on it from Ramona blowing out the candles. This leads to Daisy and the kids calling her out for being rude, and even Mrs. Quimby doesn't contest that.
    • Mrs. Kemp suffers this in Ramona Forever when the Quimbys decide that they don't need her to watch Ramona anymore and that Beezus can mind her little sister after hearing about the accordion incident. She doesn't like other kids besides her grandkids, but when Ramona was there she had a scapegoat for Willa Jean's behavior. After Ramona starts heading straight home and Howie spends his days practicing with Uncle Hobart's unicycle, Mrs. Kemp has no one to blame but herself when Willa Jean gets into mischief. We don't hear the details, but it gets to the point where Willa Jean calls Ramona and begs her to come back and hang out with her because she's lonely without Ramona or Howie, and Mrs. Kemp is no fun.
  • "L" Is for "Dyslexia": Although it's never mentioned by name or even diagnosed, Ramona's classmate Davy clearly has this.
  • Lethal Chef: Averted in Ramona Quimby, Age 8 when Ramona and Beezus are drafted into cooking dinner by their parents. Despite all the substitutions they make due to either lack of or ignorance of the proper ingredients (banana yogurt instead of buttermilk, cream of wheat instead of cornmeal, chili powder instead of paprika, etc.), the meal they make turns out surprisingly edible if not perfect.
    • The girls had contemplated purposely making something that tasted nasty to punish their parents for sticking them with the dinner chores but decided not to once Beezus pointed out they'd have to eat it too.
  • Literal-Minded:
    • Ramona is once told to wait until "a quarter after seven" to walk to school. She thinks this means to leave at 7:25 (since a quarter is worth 25 cents) instead of 7:15, and ends up being late.
    • In kindergarten Ramona's told to sit at a particular seat "for the present" which she thinks means a real wrapped gift. She struggles to remain sitting the entire day in anticipation for the supposed present and is justifiably upset when the teacher finally explains what she meant ("sit here for right now"), leaving Ramona feeling cheated.
    • As noted under Lost Wedding Ring, Ramona finds the ring, but because she was told to sit still and be quiet, she has a moment of To Be Lawful or Good, wondering if she'd get in trouble for speaking up.
  • Locked Out of the Loop: Ramona feels upset that no one told her about Aunt Bea marrying Howie's uncle, and Beezus admits she feels the same way.
  • Logic Bomb: Ramona is baffled when her second-grade teacher tells her that "there's no such word as 'can't'".
    Mrs. Rudge had just said can’t. If there was no such word as can't, Mrs. Rudge could not have said there was no such word as can't. Therefore, what Mrs. Rudge had said could not be true.
  • Lost Wedding Ring: In Ramona Forever, the wedding ring gets lost because it was stitched to the pillow it was carried on too tightly, and when the bride pulls it loose, it flies into the air and gets lost. Ramona eventually finds it on the heel of the bride's shoe.
  • Meaningful Echo: Kindergarten-age Ramona, who has just learned about Show and Tell, asks what Beezus is taking for her Show and Tell. Beezus informs her that older kids don't have Show and Tell. Two years later, Ramona gets in trouble for taking her pajamas to school, and Beezus suggests she might have taken them for Show and Tell. Ramona mentally grumbles that Beezus is just trying to make her look silly, as she knows perfectly well that second-graders don't have Show and Tell.
  • Modesty Shorts: For fourth-grade picture day, Ramona puts on a pair of play shorts under her skirt.
  • Mondegreen:
    • In-universe in Ramona the Pest, which takes place when Ramona's in kindergarten, Ramona mistakes the lyrics "the dawn's early light" (in the Star-Spangled Banner) for "the dawnzer's lee light" and comes to the conclusion that "dawnzer" means "lamp". This leads to her trying to show off her knowledge ("why don't you turn on the dawnzer?"), to the befuddled reactions of her parents and sister.
    • Ramona herself is also misunderstood by others in her kindergarten incarnation. "I'd like to make Q's." "Make use of what?" She then wonders what kind of grown-up doesn't know what the letter "Q" is. (The substitute, obviously, because substitutes are stupid — so Ramona thinks at that age.)
    • Ramona Forever has a minor example, with Ramona referring to Saudi Arabia as "Gaudy Arabia."
  • Most Writers Are Adults: Averted. When reading the books, it's easy to identify with Ramona in whatever year of life and grade she's currently in.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: In Beezus and Ramona, Beezus feels guilty whenever she loses her temper with Ramona because she feels she ought to always love her sister, no matter what. Near the end, she confesses this to her mother and Aunt Beatrice, who assure her that Sibling Rivalry is perfectly normal.
  • Never My Fault: In the climax of Ramona's World, instead of accepting that she was rude by parroting her mother's words about the birthday cake frosting having Ramona's germs on it, Susan starts crying at Ramona's birthday party that no one likes her but everyone likes Ramona. Ramona, of course, is annoyed by this if sympathetic that Susan's mother is that overbearing. Susan finally compromises by saying she'll have a slice, brush her teeth and not tell her mother.
  • New Baby Episode: Downplayed for the book "Ramona Forever". A subplot is that Mrs. Quimby is pregnant, and the baby, whose name ends up being Roberta, is born in the final chapter.
  • Non-Standard Prescription: In the book Ramona Forever, a doctor diagnoses Ramona with "siblingitis" (that is, jealousy over the attention her parents are giving her newborn sister) and hands her father a prescription for more attention.
  • "Not Wearing Pants" Dream: In Ramona The Brave, Beezus mentions a recurring dream where she's at school in her underwear and everyone is staring at her.
  • Not So Above It All: In Ramona And Her Mother Beezus gets one bratty moment by wanting a salon haircut, and has her mother spend an entire day driving to a beauty school where she can get the closest thing. She gets another one in the final chapter of Ramona Quimby, Age 8 when her mother refuses to let her go to Mary Jane's slumber party because the girls stay up too late and Beezus is tired and crabby all the next day, and Beezus slams into her bedroom and throws a tantrum. It's worth remembering that Beezus is 13 or 14 by that point in the series (she begins junior high school in Ramona Quimby, Age 8) and thus has reached the age where girls typically have clashes with their mothers, so although she's no longer the "sweet, sensible" Beezus of the early books in the series, her behavior is still true to life for girls her age.
  • Not So Different: Ramona can't stand Bratty Half-Pint Willa Jean's antics for most of the series but won't admit that she used to be a lot like her. In fact, her original role was annoying Henry Huggins in a similar way. A sign that Ramona is growing up in Ramona Forever is the fact that she acknowledges this and starts to sympathize with Willa Jean while setting boundaries about spending time with her.
    • In Beezus and Ramona, when Beezus confesses that there are times when she doesn't love Ramona, she is comforted by her mother and Aunt Beatrice telling her that it's only natural for siblings to feel that way and recounting some of the clashes they had as children.
  • Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep: Recited by Ramona after burying Picky-Picky. Beezus replies, "That's not right. You're not the one who's being buried." Ramona simply starts over with, "Now we lay Picky-Picky down to sleep..."
    • Upon finishing the prayer, after Beezus points out that Picky-Picky won't "wake with the morning light" because he's dead, Ramona replies that since cats have nine lives, Picky-Picky will be reincarnated tomorrow as someone else's cat.
  • Obvious Pregnancy: In Ramona Forever, Beezus figures out that Mrs. Quimby is pregnant well before Mrs. Quimby announces this to the girls. Beezus notices that Mrs. Quimby has experienced Morning Sickness, that Aunt Beatrice is constantly asking how she's feeling, that she seems more tired than usual, and that her work uniform is starting to get tight at the waist.
  • Offscreen Romance: One of the most significant plot threads in Ramona Forever was Aunt Bea's wedding to Uncle Hobart. Despite this, the couple had no visible interactions with each other until they announced their upcoming marriage, and the only hints the audience get that the two were together prior to this reveal was Bea's off-hand remark that she used to go to the same school as Hobart, and Howie telling Ramona that his uncle is dating a teacher.
  • One Note Chef: Two-note chef in Ramona's case, as it's mentioned in Ramona Quimby, Age 8 that her culinary expertise consists of French toast and Jell-O. At least, until she and Beezus have to make dinner one night.
  • One Steve Limit:
    • Appears to have been averted. In Beezus and Ramona, there is a girl named Susan at Ramona's party. In Ramona the Pest, Susan Kushner is introduced, and given that the book and Ramona act like this is the first time they've met, she might not be the same Susan.
    • Both Ramona's father and the man who runs the hair salon Beezus goes to in Ramona and her Mother are named Robert.
    • Ramona's kindergarten and first grade classes host an Eric J. and Eric R. They disappear by the time Ramona is in second grade, so maybe they were placed in different classes to prevent confusion.
  • Open Mouth, Insert Foot: At Ramona's birthday party in Ramona's World, Susan comes with an apple and says she's not allowed to eat cake because it has Ramona's germs from when Ramona blew out the candles. This immediately makes most of the guests scrape off the frosting, and Ramona is understandably furious. Finally, her new friend Daisy eats the cake and says there's nothing wrong with it, leading to the Reality Ensues moment where the other kids call out Susan for being impolite, and she starts to cry because she thinks no one likes her.
  • Parents as People:
    • The adults are fleshed out too; Ramona's parents deal with on-and-off unemployment and dislike of their jobs, along with other adult problems. The strongest example of this takes place in Ramona and Her Mother, when the parents fight because each expected the other to turn on the Crock-Pot, so neither turned it on, and dinner is ruined. Beezus and Ramona are angry and worried afterward and tell them to never bicker again. As the story is told from Ramona's perspective, we only know what she knows about their lives, but she knows enough to be aware of these things.
    • Ramona eventually realizes that Mrs. Kemp, Howie and Willa Jean's grandmother who's supposed to watch her and Beezus after school, resents having to babysit kids who aren't her grandchildren and that's why she's always blaming Ramona for Willa Jean's misbehavior. When Ramona tells her parents that Mrs. Kemp doesn't like her and is unpleasant, Beezus surprisingly backs her up, because she's been making a point of going to her friends' houses after school specifically to avoid Mrs. Kemp, but is willing to stay home and look after Ramona herself so they can both avoid Mrs. Kemp and her friends; Mary Jane has guitar lessons, and Pamela has been rude to her about her father's job.
  • Pet the Dog: Yard Ape has two moments in Ramona Quimby Age 8. After the fiasco where Ramona accidentally cracks a raw egg over her head, and Mrs. Whaley calls her a showoff and says, "What a nuisance!" Ramona is in Heroic BSoD drying her hair in the principal's office. Yard Ape then comes to get her, doesn't make fun of her, and says not to worry about "Old Whaley". He also starts calling her "Egg Head," which is slang for a smart person, and then makes up his own get well card when she gets sick.
  • Picky Eater: There's a reason the family cat is named Picky-Picky, because he is picky when it comes to his cat food. He makes no secret of the fact that he hates "Puss-Puddy," the cheap cat food the Quimbys have to buy due to being on a budget.
  • Poke the Poodle: In Ramona the Brave, where she's 6, Ramona is so angry she threatens to say a bad word. So she shouts "GUTS!" at the top of her lungs again and again, and rather than get in trouble, she gets laughed at.
  • Precocious Crush: Beezus gets one on her sixth-grade teacher. Ramona ends up meeting him when she has to borrow a stapler, immediately takes a liking to him because he treats her like a real person, and decides she'd probably have one on him too if she were in his class.
    • Ramona also briefly comes down with one on Henry Huggins in Ramona the Pest after she gets stuck in a mud puddle and Henry wades into it to rescue her new red boots. She even announces her intention to marry him. Luckily for him she doesn't remember about it long.
  • Prone to Vomiting: When Roberta was two months old, she often spat up.
  • Raised by Grandparents: Word of God says that Mr. Quimby's grandmother raised him. He says this outright in the TV show.
  • Reality Ensues: Ramona dislikes Susan for always being perfect and yet doing stuff like copying her schoolwork. Her anger doesn't lie in jealousy about Susan, but about how Susan isn't perfect and yet everyone claims that she is. The thing is that Ramona keeps growing up and maturing through the books, while Susan remains the same. Thus, when Ramona turns ten and Susan at Ramona's birthday party is unintentionally rude, the other kids call her out for it.
  • Relationship-Salvaging Disaster: A platonic example in Ramona Forever. After Beezus and Ramona have a fight that ends with Ramona calling Beezus "pizzaface" (which Beezus misunderstands as insulting her acne) and Beezus calling her a "hateful little creep", it takes the death of Picky Picky to bring them back together again.
  • Sadist Teacher: Ramona's first-grade teacher Mrs. Griggs. It's not entirely clear whether she dislikes Ramona personally or is just an unfriendly person, but she does deliberately embarrass Ramona in front of the class a few times. She doesn't have any 'nice' moments either. Then again, Mrs. Griggs was also Beezus's first-grade teacher, and Beezus got along with her just fine; she says that Mrs. Griggs wasn't a very exciting teacher, but she wasn't mean either. Beezus also says, "I was the kind of child she liked. You know... neat and dependable." This seems to suggest that Ramona's problems with Mrs. Griggs are the result of a personality clash.
  • The Scapegoat: Part of Ramona's dislike for Willa Jean comes from the fact that no matter what kind of bratty things Willa Jean does, Mrs. Kemp always blames Ramona for them because she's older and "should have stopped her".
  • Scary Science Words: In the book "Ramona Forever", the final chapter has a series of misunderstandings that eventually lead to this trope. First of all, the doctors don't allow Ramona to go into Mrs. Quimby's room to see her newborn sister Roberta since "children under twelve might have contagious diseases". This turns Ramona into a temporary hypochondriac and she explains the situation to a doctor, who gives her a checkup and finds nothing wrong with her but, because she mentioned Roberta, he mistakes her unhappiness for Infant Sibling Jealousy. Thus, he jokingly diagnoses her with "sibling-itis", which only makes Ramona even more nervous because she thought "itis" sounded clinical.
  • Secret Message Wink: In Ramona Forever, Ramona asks her mother if she's keeping a secret from her, and Mrs. Quimby responds in the negative but winks at Mr. Quimby.
    Ramona: You winked at Daddy!
  • Sequel Non-Entity: Willa Jean is mentioned exactly twice in Ramona's World (including once noting that she's now in kindergarten), but otherwise absent, despite being a recurring character in the previous few books. Somewhat justified, because Ramona has made a new friend in Daisy and isn't really spending any time with Willa Jean's brother Howie either.
  • Series Continuity Error:
    • In Ramona the Pest, Susan's hair color is described as "reddish-brown" while in Ramona's World, it's described as blonde.
    • In Ramona the Pest, Howie's mother mentions taking his older sister's temperature, while in later books, Howie clearly doesn't have an older sister.
    • In Henry and the Clubhouse Ramona is mentioned to be in kindergarten at the time and is shown to be friends with a classmate named Lisa. In Ramona the Pest (the Ramona-centric book about her kindergarten experiences) however, there is never any mention of a Lisa in Ramona's class.
  • Series Fauxnale: Ramona Forever ends with the birth of a new Quimby sister and with Ramona reflecting on all the types of misadventures she's had throughout the series, concluding that "She was winning at growing up." For fifteen years it was the last book of the series and it works well as such, but it was eventually followed up by Ramona's World.
  • Serious Business: Much of the drama in the books may be seen this way from an adult perspective, but as noted above, it's justified in-universe because a lot of minor-in-the-big-scheme-of-things stuff is Serious Business when you're a kid.
  • Ship Tease: Beezus and Henry being appointed to play as Mary and Joseph for a church play in Ramona and her Father may count. Especially with Beezus acting all shy to be playing Henry's partner, and Henry himself actually agreeing to the role, as Ramona expected him to be too busy to bother with such things. It never goes anywhere, though, since Henry has all but disappeared from the plot since.
  • Shout-Out:
    • In Ramona Quimby, Age 8, Ramona is assigned to give a book report in which she pretends to be "selling" the book. She takes inspiration from two well-known TV commercials of the era (circa 1980) — for Purina Cat Chow (featuring dancing cats) and Alka-Seltzer ("I can't believe I ate the whole thing!"), although the products are not mentioned by name. She makes cat masks for herself and two friends who agree to dance and make cat noises while she gives the report. While giving the report, she goes blank and, unable to think of anything but the Alka-Seltzer spot, blurts out, "I can't believe I read the whole thing!"
    • The corresponding episode of the 1988 TV series changed the Alka-Seltzer reference to one more familiar to '80s kids: "Mikey Likes It!" for Life cereal. It also averts the Bland-Name Product trope with regard to the cat food, as the Purina Cat Chow bag is clearly visible while Ramona watches the commercial.
  • Sibling Yin-Yang: Lively, excitable, and energetic Ramona's constant clashes with her level-headed, obedient, and polite older sister are a major source of strife.
  • Sick Episode: Ramona catches a stomach bug in Ramona Quimby, Age 8 and, much to her horror, throws up in front of her entire class. She feels guilty about it afterward even though she really couldn't help it.
  • Slice of Life: A big part of why the books are so much fun is that they take ordinary, everyday problems of a young American child in suburbia and make them seem like the most important crisis in all of history.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism: Definitely on the idealistic side. The idealism and upbeat tone of the books are part of their multi-decade lasting popularity and charm.
  • Sliding Scale of Silliness vs. Seriousness: Largely in the middle. There's a lot of humor that comes from the situations Ramona gets into as well as her thoughts and views on things, but also a lot of drama coming from Ramona's dealing with the world and problems in her life from a child's eye perspective (e.g. her frustration at people not taking her seriously and laughing at her unintentional malapropisms in the younger stories, getting in trouble for things she didn't mean to do — this stuff is devastating to a little kid!). The stories are neither very silly nor very serious and do a good job of balancing humor with drama. As Ramona gets older, the focus does swing closer to drama, but still remains in the center.
  • Spin-Off: The series is one, from Cleary's earlier Henry Huggins books.
  • Spock Speak: In Ramona Quimby, Age 8, Ramona manages to get out of playing with/watching Willa Jean by claiming she has to do her "Sustained Silent Reading". This takes her off the hook — for a while, anyway, until Willa Jean and Howie's grandmother realize that all Ramona is doing is reading a book, and Ramona gets in trouble for "not playing nicely enough" with Willa Jean.
  • Stating the Simple Solution: Ramona of all people provides one when Uncle Hobart forgets to order flowers for the church for the wedding, and it's June so the florist won't be able to do a rush job. As Aunt Beatrice is crying from the wedding stress, Ramona innocently asks why they can't just get flowers from the yard or pick them. Beatrice vetoes their yard because the pansies have bugs, but Grandpa Day says that's Actually a Good Idea. He says he knows some people who live nearby, and the neighbors will pitch in to help since they like the Quimbys. Sure enough, the neighbors happily donate some peonies and laurel.
  • Stock "Yuck!": Tongue. There's a scene where Ramona and Beezus are eating it and thinking it's pot roast (Mrs. Quimby had covered it in gravy), and once they realize what it is are horrified. Back in the days the Ramona series was written, tongue was widely available, a very cheap cut of beef, and kids of that era were actually subjected to it. (Today you're more likely to find it in ethnic markets and Mexican tacos del lingua than western grocery stores.)
  • Sudden Name Change: In Beezus and Ramona, Mrs. Quimby's maiden name is "Haswell", but later in the series, it's "Day".
  • Tickle Torture: Beezus threatens Ramona with this in the first book to make her stop interrupting art class and behave. Ramona instantly backs down and runs away and Beezus is proud of herself for being so creative.
  • To Be Lawful or Good: There are several instances where Ramona comes to realize that doing the right thing might mean getting in trouble. Should she help Davy, who's struggling with his writing, or "keep [her] eyes on [her] own paper" like the teacher said? When instructed to be quiet and stay in place during a wedding, should she point out where the missing wedding ring is that everyone's looking for, or just keep quiet like she was told to and therefore prolong the search?
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Beezus is the tomboy to her best friend Mary Jane's girly girl. In Ramona's World, Ramona is the tomboy to Daisy's girly girl.
  • Traumatic Haircut: Subverted when Beezus while getting a beauty school haircut comes out with her hair looking like a "cheap wig". However, the problem is how her stylist styled it, not how he cut it; once Beezus washes the hairspray out, the cut itself turns out to be fine.
  • Unreliable Illustrator: In the reissues with the new artist, the picture doesn't completely match what the text says in a few instances when characters are specifically described wearing a certain outfit, and the illustration contradicts it. This includes modernization — for example, Ramona is said to use rollerskates, but the illustration depicts rollerblades, which are more modern.
  • Where the Hell Is Springfield?: Averted in these and the Henry Huggins series; they all explicitly take place in Portland, Oregon (Cleary's former hometown). Local streets, including Klickitat, and landmarks (as well as Mount Hood) are mentioned, and the city of Portland responded by placing statues of the characters in a park. The two Ellen Tebbits books take place on the other side of Portland.
  • Writers Cannot Do Math: In Ramona the Brave Picky-Picky is stated to be ten years old, but in Ramona Forever, which takes place two years later, Ramona writes on his gravestone as though he were still ten years old despite the two intervening years.
  • Your Other Left / Who's on First?: "Do I turn left?"/"Right" happens in Ramona and Her Mother, when Beezus is giving her mother directions to get to the hairstylist's.
  • You Were Trying Too Hard: Beezus struggles with being creative in art class and doesn't like how her paintings come out. Her teacher guesses that her problem is that she tries to be too neat, and encourages her to not worry too much and just have fun with her paintings.


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