Ramona Quimby, Sculpture, Age Immortal

Cleary, Beverly.  Ramona the Pest.  Illustrated by Tracy Dockray.  New York : HarperCollins Publishers, 2006, c.1968.  Paperback, $7.50 CDN.

The first book in the Ramona series, Ramona the Pest is about five-year-old Ramona Quimby’s adventures in kindergarten.  She is a feisty and imaginative girl and her stories are humourous and wonderful to share aloud with kindergarteners (age 4-6).  This early chapter-book is also great for readers age 6-8.

Beverly Cleary Sculpture Garden for Children

(located in Grant Park, Portland, Oregon)

           Most of Beverly Cleary’s novels for children take place in the neighbourhood surrounding Grant Park in Portland, OR, where Cleary grew up.  Ramona Quimby and another of Cleary’s beloved characters, Henry Huggins, live on Klickitat Street, which is only a couple of blocks away from Grant Park.  In 1995, life-sized bronze sculptures of Ramona, Henry, and Henry’s dog Ribsy were created by local artist Lee Hunt and dedicated in the park in October of that year.  In addition to the statues, there are fountains for children to run around in during the summer and plaques listing all of Cleary’s works in which readers can find out more about these characters’ adventures.

Inspired by her own childhood and the lack of relatable reading material when she was growing up in the 1920s and 1930s, Beverly Cleary has written novels about various children growing up in this neighbourhood, of which Ramona Quimby, her older sister Beatrice ‘Beezus’, and Henry Huggins are the most well-known.  Some of her other characters include Otis Spofford, Ellen Tibbits, and Maggie Schultz.  These children range in age from preschoolers to teenagers, with those between the ages of six and eight being most common.  Although her first book was published in 1950, her stories are not that dated and her characters continue to ‘live’ in the Grant Park neighbourhood.

Ramona Quimby stars in her own series of books in which she grows from age five to age 10: Ramona the Pest, Ramona the Brave, Ramona and her Mother, Ramona and her Father, Ramona Quimby Age 8, Ramona Forever, and Ramona’s World.  In addition, she is a supporting character at age 4 in Beezus and Ramona and several of the Henry Huggins books.  As well as being represented in the garden in Grant Park, she is also immortalized in two smaller statues (also created by Lee Hunt and which were dedicated in 1996) that are featured at the Gresham Regional Library.  All of the statues represent Ramona at the approximate age of seven or eight.

Photos from the following sites:

http://www.multcolib.org/parents/cleary/ramona2.html

http://www.multcolib.org/parents/cleary/index.html

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