Plot: Four-year-old Ramona ruins everything that her 9-year-old sister, Beatrice aka Beezus, does and desires … play dates, art classes, library books, and gasp, her birthday cake, not once, but twice! The tension builds, and young Ramona reaches a breaking point on her birthday after Ramona tosses her rubber doll into the oven as the second cake is baking. Beezus could just about strangle her sibling, but when her namesake Aunt brings a store-bought cake, Aunt Beatrice and Beezus’ mother—ultimate BFFs–reminisce about their sibling rivalry and the hideous acts that Aunt Beatice inflicted on her older sister, Beatrice realizes that she and her sister will develop a life-long friendship.
Reading Level: Ages 9 to 12
Review: What an annoying child! Four-year-old is the bane of the existence of her 9-year-old sister, Beatrice aka Beezus. This little child was innocently devious and deliberately demonic. About midway through this book, I wanted to march this child off to the naughty corner for a well-deserved timeout! Author Cleary succeeded in making the reader sympathize with Beezus and feel her frustration, which spills over at Beezus’ birthday. The story is set in the 1950s, so young readers may find the stay-at-home mother’s life peculiar. I certainly did. The last chapter, in which Beezus learns, by watching her mother and her sister reminisce about their sibling tensions and transgressions, how she will learn to love her sister–even if she falls in and out of love with her—is downright touching.