So it appears—for Ramona now looks set to weather the advent of a baby sister! Lots happens in this latest installment of the Quinby family chronicles. Pal Jason's "rich" Uncle Herbert arrives from Saudi Arabia (looking "ordinary," in a muddy van), and in the to-do Ramona realizes that Jason's sitter-grandmother doesn't like her. "Until this minute she had thought all adults were supposed to like all children." She's through with going there after school, she announces at the family dinner table, and Beezus seconds her. (Why is Beezus so ready to stay home and look after Ramona? Junior-high troubles—aggravated by pimply skin.) Dad is too calm, too tolerant, now that he's studying to be a teacher—and with the teacher surplus that Aunt Bea has spoken of, will he get a job? Beezus has also caught intimations that Mother may not be working much longer, "because she's going to have a baby"—and the baby part doesn't sit well with Ramona at all. The direst possibility doesn't materialize: the Quinbys don't move from Portland to take the single, remote teaching job offered. Instead, Dad will become a manager for the supermarket-chain where he's been working part-time. (Like it? "We can't always do what we want in life," as today's theme goes, "so we do the best we can.") But these developments, and more (the death and burial of elderly puss Picky-picky), are briefly overshadowed by Aunt Bea's and Uncle Hobart's marriage—and the real wedding he speedily arranges for the Alaska-bound couple, over female protestations that it can't be done. It's a measure of Cleary's talent and acumen that the Quinbys are as credible in the mid-1980s as they were in the mid-1950s.

Pub Date: Aug. 15, 1984

ISBN: 0380709600

Page Count: 212

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 16, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1984

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Readers can still rely on this series to bring laughs.


From the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series , Vol. 14

The Heffley family’s house undergoes a disastrous attempt at home improvement.

When Great Aunt Reba dies, she leaves some money to the family. Greg’s mom calls a family meeting to determine what to do with their share, proposing home improvements and then overruling the family’s cartoonish wish lists and instead pushing for an addition to the kitchen. Before bringing in the construction crew, the Heffleys attempt to do minor maintenance and repairs themselves—during which Greg fails at the work in various slapstick scenes. Once the professionals are brought in, the problems keep getting worse: angry neighbors, terrifying problems in walls, and—most serious—civil permitting issues that put the kibosh on what work’s been done. Left with only enough inheritance to patch and repair the exterior of the house—and with the school’s dismal standardized test scores as a final straw—Greg’s mom steers the family toward moving, opening up house-hunting and house-selling storylines (and devastating loyal Rowley, who doesn’t want to lose his best friend). While Greg’s positive about the move, he’s not completely uncaring about Rowley’s action. (And of course, Greg himself is not as unaffected as he wishes.) The gags include effectively placed callbacks to seemingly incidental events (the “stress lizard” brought in on testing day is particularly funny) and a lampoon of after-school-special–style problem books. Just when it seems that the Heffleys really will move, a new sequence of chaotic trouble and property destruction heralds a return to the status quo. Whew.

Readers can still rely on this series to bring laughs. (Graphic/fiction hybrid. 8-12)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4197-3903-3

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Amulet/Abrams

Review Posted Online: Nov. 19, 2019

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A good choice for caregivers looking for a positive, uncomplicated introduction to a new baby that focuses on everything an...


A little boy exults in his new role as big brother.

Rhyming text describes the arrival of a new baby and all of the big brother’s rewarding new duties. He gets to help with feedings, diaper changes, playtime, bathtime, and naptime. Though the rhyming couplets can sometimes feel a bit forced and awkward, the sentiment is sweet, as the focus here never veers from the excitement and love a little boy feels for his tiny new sibling. The charming, uncluttered illustrations convincingly depict the growing bond between this fair-skinned, rosy-cheeked, smiling pair of boys. In the final pages, the parents, heretofore kept mostly out of view, are pictured holding the children. The accompanying text reads: “Mommy, Daddy, baby, me. / We love each other—a family!” In companion volume I Am a Big Sister, the little boy is replaced with a little girl with bows in her hair. Some of the colors and patterns in the illustrations are slightly altered, but it is essentially the same title.

A good choice for caregivers looking for a positive, uncomplicated introduction to a new baby that focuses on everything an older sibling can do to help. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Jan. 27, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-545-68886-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2015

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