"Nosmo King,"….or Ramona and Her Father

Guess what guys?  You can follow my blog on Facebook now!  I know, you’re terrifically excited for it! So go, become a follower.  Don’t act like you don’t have a Facebook. 

Ah Ramona and Her Father.  The best of the Ramona Quimby books.  It was a Newbery Honor book! Who knew?  I mean, obviously the Newbery people did, but I didn’t until I saw the Newbery emblem on my copy of the book (with a different cover than the picture above). Does it bother anyone else that Newbery is spelled with only one R?

Ramona is now seven years old and in second grade.  Her sister Beezus is twelve and in seventh grade.  Beezus has reached “that age,” and is no longer very nice or patient with Ramona.  Though Ramona generally doesn’t care.  The book starts off with Ramona making an early Christmas list and excited to go to Whopperburger with the family for dinner as a treat for Dad’s payday.  Instead, Dad comes home with the news that he’s been laid off from his job after his company was bought out. 

So Mrs. Quimby begins working full-time and Ramona begins spending a lot more time with her dad while he looks for work.  Ramona dreams about ways to earn money for her family, particularly by staring in commercials on TV.  Her ‘practice’ for these commercials causes nearly everyone to lose patience with her, including a really funny scene where she tells her teacher that her pantyhose make her ankles look like an elephant’s.  Ramona learns that grownups are a lot more likely to smile and laugh at children on TV than in real life.  True ‘dat Ramona. 

The Kemps give the Quimbys a giant pumpkin for halloween, which Mr. Quimby carves into an awesome jack o’lantern.  Unfortunately, the cat Picky-Picky, who hates his new generic food diet, eats it at night.  And fighting between the Quimby parents and Beezus, who failed to shut the cat in the basement, ensues.  Ramona is unhappy that her family is unhappy. 

But Ramona and Beezus decide to make their already depressed father even more angry and depressed by harping on him to give up smoking. They make signs all over the house “No Smoking,” “Smoking is bad for your health,” “Stamp Out Cigarettes,” etc.  Mr. Quimby initially makes fun of the signs, but then begins ignoring them.  You know who doesn’t like to be ignored? Ramona Quimby, that’s who. One day Ramona gets home from school and finds the doors locked and no one home.  She sits on the stoop and cries, thinking that her nagging her father caused him to leave her.  She and her dad start to make the world’s biggest crayon drawing (on a roll of butcher paper) and they have a heart to heart.  He promises to try to quit smoking.  (And when that happens, Ramona ends up with a father who is “even crosser than when he first lost his job.”

Just before Christmas, Mr. Quimby is offered a job at a supermarket chain.  So things are happy again in the Q household.  Then Beezus is chosen to play Mary in the church’s nativity.  Ramona, not wanting to be left out, asks if she can play a sheep for the shepherds.  She’s given permission, but told her mother must make her costume.  Of course, Mrs. Quimby is too busy to really work on Ramona’s costume, but agrees to do it anyway.  Mr. Quimby (who evidently can’t be bothered to help out and learn to sew) is annoyed that Ramona is asking her to do it, and worries that she’ll be a spoiled brat.  So Mr. Quimby gets the cold shoulder from Ramona for a while.  The Christmas play draws nearer and Mrs. Quimby has only had time to make a tail and a head-dress for Ramona’s sheep costume.  The other sheep, Howie and Davy, are outfitted in beautiful costumes made by their mothers.  Ramona wants no part of being in the play with only a tail and ears while wearing her pajamas.  But she relents and is in the play, and her father winks at her on stage, which makes her feel better. 

  • I know I’ve said it once, but I’ll say it again.  Best. Ramona book. EVER.  
  • Seriously, Mr. Quimby.  You’re out of work.  Ciggies are expensive.  Do the math.  
  • I love the Quimby parents, who never trivialize the problems of their children.  Beezus hates her creative writing class.  Instead of telling her to suck it up, Mr. Quimby actually listens to her, and provides a solution.  Same when Ramona was left alone. She shouldn’t have been worried, but she was and Mr. Quimby took her seriously without compounding her fears. 
  • Ramona and Howie learn from a neighbor how to make tin-can stilts.  To this day, I want to make some.  Maybe when my kid gets a little older, I’ll make some for him. 
  • Ramona is worried that her family isn’t happy.  And her father reassures her that they are, but that no family, no person is perfect.  And we get this little gem, which is so adorable and so why I love Ramona:

    Lots of fathers wouldn’t draw pictures with their little girls. Her father bought her paper and crayons when he could afford them. Lots of mothers wouldn’t step over a picture that spread across the kitchen floor while cooking supper.  Ramona knew mothers who would scold and say “Pick that up.  Can’t you see I’m trying to get supper?”  Lots of big sisters wouldn’t let their little sister go along with they interviewed someone for creative writing.  They would take more than their fair share of gummybears because they were bigger….Ramona decided her father was probably right.   


About nikkihb

Wife. Mother. Reader. Blogger.
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19 Responses to "Nosmo King,"….or Ramona and Her Father

  1. Aw, great post! I loved Ramona so much…my uncle always got me books for presents when I was little, and he got me started on Little House AND Ramona! Yay for awesome relatives.It's interesting to look back at kids' books as an adult–the Quimbys really were pretty fantastic parents, always encouraging their kids' creativity and treating them with respect. That paragraph at the end of your post makes me think of my own parents, who never yelled at me and my sister for singing and dancing along to our Little Mermaid tape ad nauseum (even though it must have been pretty annoying).

  2. Amy says:

    Oh my, how I love Ramona. She's probably one of my favorite fictional characters of all time. Thanks for the review!

  3. Shannon SVH says:

    Does it bother anyone else that Newbery is spelled with only one R?This bothers me quite a bit. I used to work for a book wholesaler so I actually had to deal with lists of Newbery and Caldecott winners and stuff like that, and the number of times I misspelled Newbery is really kind of embarrassing.

  4. Man I love Ramona. Ramona Forever is my favorite, but this one is great too. Did you ever watch the Ramona specials on TV? I think they were on PBS.

  5. Sadako says:

    Man, Ramona's dad's a bit of a jerk…why couldn't HE help make the costume? Oh, right, it was pre women's liberation and a normal red blooded American male did NOT sew.The sheep outfit makes me think of Lisa's outfit that Homer made for her (Florida?) when she was in a school play for the states and Marge was gambling away. One more reason to wish Tim Gunn was your dad.

  6. i agree..XD i agree that no family nor any person is perfect 😀

  7. obie119 says:

    Oh, this was my favorite one too…Those tin-can stilts were so awesome, especially that they spent the whole time singing "99 bottles of beer on the wall" – awesome.And yeah, just great parents. The Krupniks of the Anastasia books were great parents too, although definitely they did not have the same financial worries as the Quimbys.It's funny, in Beverly Cleary's Henry books I don't remember much of anything about the parents.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Aw, thanks for posting on this book. For Christmas, my sister got my parents Ramona and her Mother and Romana and her Father (respectively). The first thing I said when I saw Ramona and her Father is "Nosmo King! The Nosmo King!" I haven't read the book in years, but for some reason Nosmo King stuck with me.

  9. Lauren says:

    Aww, this takes me back. I love Ramona.My favourite has to be 'Ramona Quimby, Age 8' though. The unboiled egg incident! The time she and Beezus make dinner! The whopperburger! Love it all.

  10. Julie says:

    I looove that quote at the end of the post!

  11. Caroline says:

    I would LOVE for Tim Gunn to be, maybe not my Dad, but my awesome Uncle. This is an awesome book. Picking a favourite Ramona book is hard! I think mine is Ramona Forever. (I'm back blogging on a mostly regular basis now, about kids books, teen books, and some adult books at Crowding the Book Truck.)

  12. nikki says:

    Thanks for the update on your blog Caroline!

  13. oldschoolpopculture says:

    I loved the Ramona books! Do you remember the Ramona TV show that was on in the late '80s? I think there were only about 10 episodes. I was obsessed with that show (and the books).

  14. P says:

    Oh man, I used to LOVE the Ramona books when I was a kid – I'd forgotten all about them until now!

  15. binky says:

    So I have, for the longest time, remembered that somewhere I read a book about a girl who wrote "Nosmo King" on a paper to get her dad to stop smoking, and here dad asked her who it was. I googled the incident, and here I am, remembering random parts of a book that I can't remember reading but definitely read. Just thought I'd let you know.

  16. MforMaria says:

    I also googled nosmo king, and I really enjoyed revisiting the story via your summary! I remember the Ramona Quimby character but had forgotten that I had owned this particular book. So many great little snippets – to this day on the rare occasion I wear pantyhose I always check for the elephant ankles ha ha!

  17. Sara says:

    I felt so awful for Ramona through most of this book. Poor girl just wants to help and for her family to be happy but everyone’s grouchy and her efforts do more harm than good. And of course, the sheep suit business. But her and her dad drawing that picture was one of the most heartwarming scenes ever.

  18. Pingback: “We don’t quarrel for fun,” or, Ramona and Her Mother | Are You There Youth? It's Me, Nikki

  19. Pingback: CtK 189: Owning the Utilities | Corrupting the Kids

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