I hesitated before buying a video of the movie version of Beezus and Ramona, having read mixed reviews. My mother, though, who gets a video of almost every new movie (we find it hard to make it to the theaters) bought it and passed it on to me. And guess what, I loved it--and so did my three-year old daughter!
The first time she stayed with me for the beginning then drifted off after fifteen minutes to do her own thing. I watched it through then watched again with her, skipping the parts that would be scary for her, like those on Ramona's nighttime fears. That day I had read her at least half a dozen books and she still wouldn't nap, so I made the mistake of turning on the video as she lay on the bed. Of course she went to see what I was watching, on what happened to be Beverly Cleary's birthday. This time, my daughter remained glued to the screen. And so did I, though i knew what was going to happen.
But then, that's the joy of Beverly Cleary's world. I constantly reread the books. The unpredictability of Ramona is what brings the laughs, but the comforting familiarity of her world keeps readers coming back.
Almost all my favorite moments from the books were there--Ramona's thrill over the hole in the house, the longest picture in the world, the egg and burrs in her hair, the "peas" school photo, her aunt's last-minute wedding and her heroic role in it. There are others I would have liked to see--Ramona losing her shoe and making a paper replacement from Ramona the Brave, the pumpkin and sheep incidents from Ramona and her Father, Ramona's determination to make pants for an elephant and the time the two sisters went to the beauty parlor in Ramona and her Mother, Ramona's valentine to Yard Ape and her coping with Clawed the Cat,his kitty condo and Roberta in Ramona's world. There's still plenty of good material to mine. Hopefully there'll be a sequel.
The movie adds a few incidents that weren't in the books, but are very true to Ramona's character. Proof that Ramona has come to life through Beverly Cleary's books.