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hacking up

Ramona's World

Ramona's World is a juvenile fiction novel written by Beverly Cleary. It was first published in 1999. The current edition was illustrated by Tracy Dockray. It is part of the popular Ramona Quimby series. Published in 1999, Ramona's World comes fifteen years after its predecessor, Ramona Forever. As of now, it is the final installment in the series and the last book Cleary has published.

Plot

Ramona starts the fourth grade, excited to tell everyone about her new baby sister, Roberta. She quickly becomes best friends with the new student, Daisy Kidd. Ramona has never had a girl as a friend. She thinks Daisy is the perfect friend and her house is perfect, not too messy and not too clean. She quickly cozies up to her family, including Daisy's big brother Jeremy (who apparently has a mild crush on Beezus), her mother and her cat, Clawed. She gets worried about losing her best friend when she accidentally falls through the dining room ceiling while playing dress up and make-believe with Daisy.

At school, Ramona is frustrated with her teacher, Mrs. Meacham, who pushes her class to be proper spellers. Ramona has not had a good history with spelling and tries extra hard to do better. Mrs. Meacham, who apparently does not allow passing notes in her class and instead using them to find new spelling words, catches Danny (Yard Ape as he is called by his peers) passing a note to Ramona. After reading the note, Mrs. Meacham adds a new word to the spelling word list: Ramona. This evidently means that Danny had spelled Ramona incorrectly (spelling it "Ranoma").

Meanwhile, Beezus enters high school and starts maturing into a teenager. Rebelling against her sensible image, she uses her babysitting money to get her ears pierced without asking for her parents' permission. Her parents actually like her earrings and are only slightly upset that she didn't talk to them first. She also goes to her first high school party.

Ramona adjusts to being a big sister and role model for Roberta. She gets frustrated while feeding Roberta strained peas. Roberta takes a big mouthful of peas and spits them on the floor. She wants to also be mature and responsible like Beezus. She wants to be a babysitter and settles for being a cat sitter instead, watching Clawed for a week. One day, her mother asks her to watch Roberta for fifteen minutes while she goes out. While Roberta tears up magazines, Ramona rushes Clawed outside when she sees him hacking up a furball. When Ramona returns, she finds that Roberta has gotten her head stuck in a hole in Clawed's scratching post, or "kitty condo". Ramona frees her sister just in time before her family returns home.

When it is time to take class pictures, Ramona dresses in a jumper that is much too small for her. The photographer takes each student's picture, asking him or her to say "Cheese". Yard Ape asks the photographer why he tells everyone to say "Cheese". The photographer gets stumped. When Ramona stands in front of the camera, the photographer tells her to say "Peas". Recalling the disgusting incident with Roberta and the strained peas, Ramona puckers her face as the photographer flashes the camera.

Ramona's rivalry with Susan, her nemesis since kindergarten, continues. Ramona's parents and Susan's parents have become friends, and both sets of parents have asked their daughters to get along with each other. Ramona is frustrated by Susan's perfect attitude. She reluctantly invites Susan to her "zeroteenth" birthday party at the park at her mother's insistence. Susan angers Ramona when she refuses to eat a piece of birthday cake. Susan's mother had told her before that cake creates cavities and that blowing out candles puts spit and germs on it. She instead takes out an apple she brought from home. Daisy comes to Ramona's defense and says that what her mother said was silly. She proceeds to eat the cake and convinces everyone else to eat too. The girls at the party turn against Susan, who throws her apple and cries. Mrs. Quimby comforts Susan and asks her why she is crying. Susan expresses her frustrations at always having to be perfect and her envy at Ramona for having friends. "Even Yard Ape likes her", she says. For the first time, Ramona feels sorry for Susan. At the end of the book, there are signs that Ramona and Susan will become friends after all.

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