Thank heavens for the recent film, Ramona and Beezus. Unlike so many children's book adaptations, this one is well-written, well-acted, and, more or less, remains true to the spirit if not the letter of the original books. What's more, it has put the marvellous books of Beverly Cleary back into the hands of a whole new generation of children. I hope.
Who can help but fall in love with Ramona Quimby or Ralph and his motorcycle? In a world where so much fiction for 6-10 year olds has devolved into poorly written, formulaic, series tripe, Beverly Cleary's books still shine. That's not to say there aren't great recent titles for that age group. There are. Beverly Cleary's books, however, still carry a unique magic.
On the Beverly Cleary website, kids can hang out in the neighbourhood of Klickitat Street and see where Cleary's key characters live and go to school. There's also a handful of fun and educational games to play with names like "Spelling Beezus" and "Retrieving Risby." If you play well enough, your name can be added to the online leader board. The film is mentioned on the website but it hasn't taken over in the way that so many other film adaptations eventually efface the textual history that gave them roots--which is good, because for me, Ramona will always look just like this: