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Ramona and Her Father
by Beverly Cleary
Second-grader Ramona Quimby is distressed when her father loses his job. This brings changes in her family, which includes an older sister “Beezus” (given name Beatrice) who is going through that “difficult age,” a cat who snubs cheap cat food, and a mother who has to work so hard to support the family that she doesn’t have time to do things like sewing a sheep costume for the Christmas program. But what worries Ramona most is her father, who is moody and smokes too much.
This is an adorable book about a family crisis seen through seven-year-old eyes. I chose this from among many children’s stories by Beverly Cleary because it happened to be a Newbery Honor Book in 1976. But its charm, its generosity to the memorable characters in it, and its relevance to what many families are going through, should win lots of readers to the interconnected series of books that include Ribsy, Henry Huggins, Henry and Ribsy, Beezus and Ramona, and lots more.