Beezus and Ramona

Beezus and Ramona(ō)

By Beverly(ˈbevərlē) Cleary


Beatrice(bēətrīs) Quimby’s biggest problem was her little sister Ramona. Beatrice, or Beezus (as everyone called her, because that was what Ramona had called her when she first learned to talk), knew other nine-year-old girls who had little sisters who went to nursery(ˈnərs(ə)rē) school, but she did not know anyone with a little sister like Ramona.

Beezus felt that the biggest trouble with four-year-old Ramona was that she was just plain(plān) exasperating(iɡˈzaspəˌrādiNG). If Ramona drank(draNGk) lemonade(ˌleməˈnād) through a straw(strô), she blew into the straw as hard as she could to see what would happen. If she played with her finger paints in the front yard, she wiped(wīp) her hands on the neighbors’ cat. That was the exasperating sort of thing Ramona did. And then there was the way she behaved about her favorite book.

It all began one afternoon after school when Beezus was sitting in her father’s big chair embroidering(əmˈbroidər) a laughing teakettle(ˈtēˌkedl) on a pot holder for one of her aunts(ant) for Christmas. She was trying to embroider this one neatly(ˈnētlē), because she planned to give it to Aunt Beatrice, who was Mother’s younger sister and Beezus’s most special aunt.

With gray(ɡrā) thread Beezus carefully outlined the steam coming from the teakettle’s spout and thought about her pretty young aunt, who was always so gay(ɡā) and so understanding. No wonder she was Mother’s favorite sister. Beezus hoped to be exactly like Aunt Beatrice when she grew up. She wanted to be a fourth-grade teacher and drive a yellow convertible(kənˈvərdəb(ə)l) and live in an apartment house with an elevator(ˈeləˌvādər) and a buzzer(ˈbəzər) that opened the front door. Because she was named after Aunt Beatrice, Beezus felt she might be like her in other ways, too.