RAMONA THE BRAVE
After a year of kindergarten with Miss Binney who even made the Q in Ramona Quimby look like a kitty cat, Ramona finds it hard to adjust to a drab first grade teacher committed to reading circles and number combinations and avoiding waste. ("Class, when we waste paste," says Mrs. Griggs as the children work on their paper bag owls, "and then pound our eyes down with our fists, our eyes skid.") When Susan copies Ramona's owl, Ramona scrunches Susan's right in class and Mrs. Griggs makes her apologize in public; Ramona's misery deepens but she determines to be her father's "spunky gal" and stick it out, and at last her efforts to please bring about a little flexibility on the teacher's part. Again Beverly Cleary takes us right inside Ramona's head where screaming "Guts!" in a fury is perceived as a desperate action (and her parents' amusement over the "bad word" deeply humiliating) but the behavior that gets her into trouble at school is totally innocent and reasonable. Amusing, sound, empathic. . . as always.