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The first chapter book I remember reading as a child was Beezus & Ramona. Nowadays, with her own series of books, Ramona has eclipsed her older sister in popularity and recognition, so oftentimes, such as in the new movie, you’ll see her credited first, Ramona & Beezus. Ramona was pretty charming, I will admit, and she was the perfect embodiment of a child’s thought process. But long-suffering Beezus had her own charms, even if I couldn’t relate to her as well.* Since Ramona went on to dominate the later books, Beezus & Ramona is a nice glance into what Beezus herself is thinking about her sister’s antics.

Beezus is constantly annoyed by Ramona, then about age 4, and her oddities: Using a marshmallow as a powder puff, having an invisible pet lizard, taking one bite out of all the apples in the house and justifying it because “the first bite tastes best!”, but she learns to embrace and appreciate many aspects of her sister, because along the way, Beezus learns that she can loosen up a little, discover her creative, imaginative side, and find happiness in simple pleasures. Later on, when I read books like Henry Huggins, I was disappointed to discover that Beezus had something of a clever prankster’s streak in her when interacting with Henry which didn’t show up much in Beezus & Ramona. But at the time, I liked it for what it was, and appreciate those books to this day.

* You would think, with me being the older sister, I would relate more to Beezus than to Ramona. But I was always more independent, stubborn, and creative, like Ramona, rather than a joiner like Beezus, so Ramona was where my sympathies lay.

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