How fitting that novel number 89 tackles the topic of family and parenthood? (Because I am also tackling said issues...along with sleeplessness and weight loss.) (It's a real party over here.) (Actually, I'm kind of loving the whole thing, but complaining is kind of my shtick.)
I read this novel in about two days. Again, being sleep deprived and basically without any reliable amounts of free time, that's really saying something. So I say three cheers for Beverly Cleary.
Girlfriend is the author of novel #89 on our list of Top 100 Children's novels (which I poached from the school library journal blog), Ramona and Her Father.
See that bright shiny Newberry award? Yet another sign that this is a fab choice of read aloud or independent book (It's a Level O) for your friends.
In this book, Ramona's father loses his job (A timely topic.) which causes his family to be under a bit of a financial strain. Throughout the story, Ramona is frustrated with her parents anxiety and irritability, wondering if there is a way that she could make a million dollars by starring in a TV commercial. She goes through the usual Ramona antics - getting a crown of burrs stuck in her hair, getting into fights with Beezus (Seriously, Beezus? This is the nickname you pick when your name is Beatrice??) In the end though, her family proves to be a strong one and things work out for the best.
I appreciate Beverly Cleary's ability to create an honest portrait of a family - not too sing-songy-everything-is-wonderful-and-the-rest-of-us-want-to-punch-you-and-your-overly-positive-attitude-in-the-face and not too trying-to-be-sarcastic-in-that-way-that-makes-you-think-their-children-were-actually-an-accident. Basically, she strikes a very realistic note that rings true despite that fact that this book was originally published in 1975. I think your friends will totes relate to Ramona. Plus, it gives you an excuse to take a class field trip to the movies when Ramona and Beezus comes out. Cha-ching, am I right?
Speaking of honest portrayal of families and fathers? I saw some dude at the grocery store essentially letting his children run amok in the produce aisle. Um, sir? A word to the wise? Nobody wants your children's germ encrusted hands poking at their $6.99/lb cherries. Take a page from Ramona's father's book and reign your children in. However, I did relish the fairly rare opportunity to shoot a teacher look that could fry ice across the aisle, causing your children to stop dead in their tracks and slowly withdraw their paws from the avocado display.
And on that note, I'll send you off for your Friday cocktails and cheese platters. Next week, we're onto novel #88, The High King The High King (The Chronicles of Prydain)by Lloyd Alexander.