RAMONA AND HER FATHER
Ramona wished she had a million dollars so her father would be fun again." As it is, he seems too worried to love her ever since he lost his job. But Ramona's fantasy about earning a million dollars doing TV commercials only leads to more problems, and the longer her father is out of work the harder it gets. There is all that pumpkin everyone has to eat after cat Picky-Picky, disdaining her new, cheaper cat food, goes after the jack-o'-lantern. ("Are you sure you cut off all the parts with cat spit on them?" asks Ramona at the table.) Worse, there's her mother's new full-time job that leaves her too busy and tired to make Ramona a sheep costume for the Christmas pageant. ("You know sheep don't wear pajamas," Ramona protests. "That's show biz," says Mr. Quimby, jocular now that he's been called for a job.) As Cleary is no frivolous wishfulfiller, Mother doesn't find the time; instead, a sulky Ramona--considerably cheered when three older girls dressed as "Wisepersons" apply mascara to her nose--reconciles herself to appearing in her pajamas and the sheep's tail and headdress that Mother did have time for. Earlier, Ramona, concerned about her father's smoking habit and annoyed that her parents misinterpret her tears, wonders, "Didn't grownups think children worried about anything but jack-'olanterns? Didn't they know children worried about grownups?" Cleary knows, for sure.