I'm a sucker for anything that reminds me of my childhood, especially if it allows me to relive it. I get super excited about these sorts of things, and I can't help but feel this way about Ramona and Beezus, the movie adaptation of Beverly Cleary's Ramona Quimby books.
The Ramona Quimby books were the first real chapter books I read as a kid. I was probably about seven years old when I started reading them. I can't recall which characters in the book I felt more of a connection to then. Probably Ramona, because I was always that "busy-body" kid running around, getting dirty, getting into mischief, and getting yelled at by adults. But maybe it was Beezus, because right around the time I was reading those books, I had a "busy-body" little sister, too. (Yeah, we were both "busy-bodies." That's what our grandmother called us, and apparently, it ran in the family).
I don't remember very much about the books, but I remember loving them. I do remember feeling badly when Ramona's cat died, and I remember that his name was Picky-Picky. I thought of Picky-Picky when my own cat, Dusty, died when I was nine or ten. I remember feeling badly again when Ramona's dad lost his job, and I was reminded of her again when my own dad lost his job. Come to think of it, there were a lot of sad moments in those books--moments that I could relate to and see happening in my own life, sometimes--but I recall that there were quite a few happy ones, as well. I do know that I was always glad at the end of the books, when whatever particular conflict Ramona and Beezus were having in that book was finally resolved.
I think I moved on to what I thought were bigger and better books (Babysitter's Club and Sweet Valley Twins) before I could read all of the Ramona Quimby books. I went hunting through my house just today for my old copies of them, with no luck (although I did locate a very tattered copy of Roald Dahl's Matilda, so score!). They probably got sold in a garage sale or given away to a library sometime long ago. I'm a little saddened that I didn't miss them before now, and that I didn't think to keep them. I do hope, though, that another kid had the chance to enjoy them. I'd even be okay with it if they crossed my name off of the inside front cover and scrawled in their own.
So, for those of you who loved Ramona Quimby just as I did, or maybe for those of you who never got the chance to enjoy her, HarperCollins publishers has the full text of Beezus and Ramona available for you to read. And here is a trailer for Ramona and Beezus, due out July 23!