Tuesday, November 30, 2010

A Girl from Yamhill by Beverly Cleary

A Girl from YamhillTitle: A Girl from Yamhill
Author: Beverly Cleary
Pages: 352
Published: 1996 HarperCollins
My Rating: 4 stars

It could be that the difference between Junie B. Jones (Barbara Park) and Ramona Quimby (Beverly Cleary) is simply a generational preference, although I--being from the older generation--would beg to differ. 
Ramona Quimby, Age 8 (Avon Camelot Books) Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus (Junie B. Jones, No. 1) (Book & CD)
Certainly, there are similarities: young, sassy, misunderstood girl goes through a series of humorous, humiliating circumstances.  I own both series, my daughters have enjoyed both series, and I'm pretty sure my mom has disliked both series.  

The generational quandary enters because I think my mom views both Junie B and Ramona as I view Junie B (but not Ramona): impertinent, disrespectful and irritating.

Before Sara Crewe (A Little Princess) or Laura Ingalls became my friends, there was Ramona: showing me that I wasn't the only misunderstood one out there.  No, I didn't get myself into quite as many scrapes as she did, but there was something comforting in the fact that other little girls were good, but misunderstood.

I mention all this because your feelings on Ramona Quimby will absolutely affect your feelings on Beverly Cleary herself.  A Girl From Yamhill is Beverly Cleary's memoir, from her earliest memories on her father's farm, to graduating high school during the Great Depression.  As in her children's books, Cleary's writing is simple and easy to read.  It was fun to learn about all the experiences that influenced her writing, and was also a great account of life in the early part of the 20th century.  
My Own Two Feet: A MemoirThe account of Cleary's life is continued in My Own Two Feet, which immediately went on my TBR list after finishing the first installment.  If you are, or ever have been, a fan of Beverly Cleary (or Ramona Quimby, or Henry Huggins, or Ribsy, etc.) A Girl From Yamhill is a must-read.  It is quick reading, but full of such wonderful memories that it has a lasting effect.


  1. I loved Ramona as a child & I'm also noticing Junie B. Jones take over a little in classroom libraries. I can't say who I prefer (I've never read the Junie books) but Ramona will always have a special place in my heart :)

  2. I loved both of Beverly Cleary's memoirs - I hope you enjoy the second one was well as the first!

    I have really been enjoying your blog and want to award you the Versatile Book Blogger Award! Thanks for writing such a great blog! http://thestorygirlbookreviews.blogspot.com/2010/11/lucky-me.html

  3. Teacher/Learner--one of the great things about Junie B. is that it is easier reading, so accessible to kids at an earlier age. I just find Barbara Park's characters to be a little too impudent for my taste.

    L.L.--I'm glad to hear that the second memoir is great too! And thanks so much for the award, I'm glad to have you hanging out with me in my little corner of the blog-o-sphere!


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