beezus and ramona | review

I was shopping Audible today, trying to figure out what to spend my monthly credit on when I came across the Ramona Quimby Audio Collection.  I know I’m in my twenties and all but you have to understand, I LOVED Beverly Cleary books when I was growing up and here was a $40 collection of all 8 Ramona books available to me for 1 Audible credit!

I got it.

I finished the first two books while weeding the garden beds.

I should have been listening to something else.  Something more…mature.  But it was sooooo sweet revisiting Klickitat street again, it was worth it!  I have a feeling I’m going to finish this collection pretty quickly!

912441Beezus and Ramona by Beverly Cleary

Rating: 5.0 – 5.0

My Thoughts:

I don’t remember how old I was when I first listened to this audiobook but I’ve always loved it.  It gains a new kind of precious when you’re an adult. You gain a new kind of appreciation because you better understand childhood and you remember what it was like to be a child.  As an older sister, I can totally relate to Beezus Quimby.  But since you know what’s going on in Ramona’s little, imaginative head, you can’t help but love her and her exasperating ways.

I absolutely love the way Cleary tells her stories.  She connects events and makes things come full circle.  The way the applesauce incident ties in with the surprise party.  The way Beezus’ feelings about her relationship with Ramona and her admiration of the relationship between her mother and Aunt Beatrice.  They’re quite simple really but they’re touching and sweet and homey the way a children’s book should be.

And I must say, Stockard Channing’s reading of the Ramona books is superb and if there is another audiobook production of these stories, I will not ever listen to them cause no one can narrate these books the way she can!

I have 7 more books to go so I’ll have plenty more to write about Ramona in my next several posts!

Happy reading y’all!

This book counts towards the following challenges:

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betsy-tacy review//classics club

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My mother first read me Betsy-Tacy when I was a very little girl and I followed their story all the way up through their adult years.  I loved every page!  Revisiting Deep Valley and the Big Hill and the simple pleasures of a world gone by was very sweet indeed!  And I must, of course, mention Lois Lenski’s charming illustrations.  I don’t know if any of you have read any of her books but her work is especially nostalgic for me and my mother <3.

SPOILER ALERT: My comments do contain spoilers! You have been warned ;)

Maud Hart Lovelace (what a romantic name, yeah?) begins her story by stating that it’s difficult to think of a time when Betsy and Tacy had not been friends.

“Hill Street came to regard them almost as one person. Betsy’s brown braids went with Tacy’s curls, Betsy’s plump legs with Tacy’s spindly ones, to school and from school, up hill and down, on errands and in play. So that when Tacy had the mumps and Betsy was obliged to journey alone, saucy boys would tease her: Where’s the cheese apple pie?” Where’s the mush, milk?” As though she didn’t feel lonesome already!”

I think that is too cute!  And to see how much our language has changed over time!  I don’t know any child today who associates cheese with apple pie!  Peanut butter and jelly, yes.  And who eats mush and milk anymore?  Today it’s cereal and milk!

So the story of these two besties begins with 5 year-old Betsy Ray who lives in “a small, yellow cottage”, “the last on her side of Hill Street”.  She reminds me of little Laura Ingalls in Little House in the Big Woods with her brown braids and wide-eyed wonder and vivid imagination.  Across the street, stood a “rambling white house” which was, of course the last house on that side of Hill Street.  To her delight, a new family moves into the white house across the street and they have a little girl just her age!  After a rather humorous meeting cumbered with a bit of a misunderstanding, the two become inseparable!  Betsy, bright-eyed and full of stories and shy Tacy, eager to listen and ready to join in the fun.

Reading about their afternoons with paper dolls cut out of fashion magazines, dressing up in grown up clothes and going calling, coloring white sand with leftover Easter egg dye and selling it, and taking their supper plates to eat together on the bench on top of the hill, makes me wish that I had grown up in another time.  A simpler time.  Granted, I love technology and all the great conveniences it affords but sometimes I get tired of the constant bombardment and long for quiet afternoons, homemade laughter, and the sweet joys that can’t be bought with money or achieved with a smartphone, television or laptop.  But alas, God saw fit to place me in this period so I love it for everything wonderful it has to offer while occasionally slipping in the past to enjoy tea in china cups, buggy rides, and trips to the general store!

I must confess however that reading a book meant for such young readers was a bit of challenge cause I caught myself getting just a tad bored!  Over all, it was a pleasure and I intend to continue re-reading the entire series! =)

Y’all have a blessed day =)

king of the wind review//classics club

20130105_194430_zps75e7714aI’m not usually a huge fan of animal stories but King of the Wind is one of my childhood favorites.  As with many of the books I devoured as a little girl, I listened to this on tape before I ever picked up a hard copy.  I read it once or twice after that and thoroughly enjoyed it every time!  A couple months ago, I bought this beautiful red hardcover copy at a used book store since I no longer had my old paperback copy.  When I decided to participate in the Children’s Classics Event this month, I knew this book had to be on my list :).

SPOILER ALERT: If you have not yet read this book and plan to in the future, do NOT read further!! You have been warned ;)

King of the Wind is a story of Agba, a horseboy in the stables of Moroccan Sultan, Mulai Ismael, and Sham, his beloved bay stallion.  I suppose, since the title is King of the Wind, it would be more correct to say the story is one about a bay stallion named Sham and his devoted horseboy Agba.  It could go either way, so deep is their friendship, so strong is their reliance upon each other, so intertwined are their lives.  It really is a sweet story of keeping promises, staying true to one’s duty, and becoming who you were born to be.

423156As I was reading, I was constantly amused at the fact that I kept hearing the story narrated in the voice from the audiobook I listened to so many years ago!  It’s funny the things your brain recollects!  The language Henry uses is absolutely delightful!

“There was no sound anywhere, not from the palace walls beyond, nor from the quarters over the stables where the horseboys lived. The whole world seemed to be holding its breath, waiting for dusk to fall. Small voices of insects and birds were beginning to pierce the quiet. Twilight toads piping on their bassoons. Crickets chirping. Wood doves cooing. And afar off in the Atlas Mountains a hyena began to laugh. These were forerunners of the darkness. It would be only a short time now.”

My favorite bit is her description of the Sultan.  Upon hearing that he is to go before Sultan Mulai Ismael, Agba is terrified that his life will come to an abrupt and untimely end.  His fears lessen considerably when he sees the great man himself.

“The Sultan held the boy transfixed. He wore a towering white turban and a dazzling white robe with a golden sash. But what struck Agba was that in spite of the fine mantle and a beard whiter than driven snow, the old man reminded him of a camel. His eyes were hidden by heavy folds of eyelids, like a camel’s, and his lips were thick and slit in two, and there was a big hump on his back. Even his feet were like those of a camel, spongy and broad and shapeless…

Agba would not have been surprised in the least to see him rise up and swing along through the garden, stopping to feed on the leaves of the orange trees and the jasmine bushes….

…Agba wanted to laugh out, for even the Sultan’s voice was high and shrill, like a camel that objects to being mounted.”

I don’t know why but that has always tickled me!  Perhaps it was the way the narrator on the audiobook read it, I don’t know!

In any case, the misadventures that Agba and Sham continually face in their travels are, at times, heartbreaking but in the end make their success that much sweeter.  I sometimes wonder how the story would have gone if Agba could speak but it’s foolish to consider because that’s a huge part of why the story is so poignant.  Here’s a boy who, handicapped though he may be, will fulfill his promise to Sham and carry out the Sultan’s orders, come what may.

It made me think of how much I want to use my weaknesses as a crutch and excuse as to why I can’t do what know I was meant to do.  It’s stupid.  It’s stupid to give room to negativity.  When you know you’ve got a job to complete, a mission to accomplish, a dream to fulfill, a promise to keep, you don’t listen to the naysayers, you fight for success.  You pray that you don’t miss opportunities and open doors.  You wait patiently for your next big chance.  You learn from your mistakes and pick yourself up when you fall flat on your face.  It’s one of the great things about life.  You try again and again and again until you get it right. And you will get it right.

I got all that from a story about a horse and his boy?  Yes.

That’s why I love the simplicity of childhood.  If you let it, it’ll continue to speak to your adult heart <3.

Y’all have a blessed day!

children’s classics event

It’s not like I don’t already have too much on my plate but I couldn’t help myself when I saw the Children’s Classics Event hosted by Amanda at Simpler Pastimes. I had to join in on the fun!! After perusing my bookshelves, I added a several more children’s titles to my CC List and chose a few to read this month!

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READING LIST

Betsy-Tacy//Maud Hart Lovelace

Caddie Woodlawn//Carol Ryrie Brink

King of the Wind//Marguerite Henry

I’m super excited because I haven’t read these stories in a looooooong time!  The child in me is doing a happy dance ^.^.

For full details, check out the information page