We love Ramona.

Ramona Quimby. You know, Beezus’s little sister. The one who is always getting into so much trouble.

What kind of trouble? Oh, you know, there’s the time she took one bite out of every apple in a bushel, forcing her mom to make the world’s biggest batch of applesauce.

Or the time she stuck her doll into her sister’s baking birthday cake, filling the house with the smell of burning rubber and wrecking the second cake of the day.

Or the time she invited all of her friends to the house for a party without telling her mother, who ended up entertaining the neighborhood preschoolers with her wet hair half in curlers. Thank goodness for the extra-large batch of applesauce.

Or the time when she lost her temper in school and stomped her friend Susan’s art project, intended for parent’s night.

It’s always something with high-spirited Ramona. She wants to be loved and appreciated above all else but some of her actions make that a little difficult.

Her sister admits guiltily, “I don’t love Ramona all the time.” Her mother asks, “Ramona, what are we going to do with you?” And Ramona herself cries with frustration.

Why is being Ramona so hard? For that matter, why is being any child so hard?

There are, of course, a lot of answers to that question and reading Ramona helps my girls and me to figure them out.

Every night her hijinks remind us that even the most beloved of heroines makes mistakes; we are not the only ones whose emotions get away from us from time to time. It takes time to grow up, and love and family run steadily through the ups and downs of childhood.

Growing up is hard and Ramona’s struggles make my own high-spirited girl’s struggles more reasonable and understandable to them. Ramona and her family also remind me that kids are kids and that they need to know they are loved even at the worst of times.

Every night at bedtime I get everyone upstairs with, “Come on, let’s go see what Ramona is up to tonight.” And she never lets us down.

We love Ramona.

To learn more about Ramona and all the great characters created by author Beverly Cleary, visit her website.

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