Tuesday, April 1, 2008

A Disturbing Article from Today's Newspaper

RAMONA FACES "TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY TOPIC" IN LATEST BOOK

Everyone's favorite little sister, Ramona Quimby, is about to confront a very modern issue in her latest book -- and her publisher couldn’t be happier.

“Ramona ‘the Pest’ Quimby has entertained generations of young readers with her charming adventures,” declared publisher Russell Leaf. “But today’s kids yearn for something a little more edgy than Ramona locking Henry Huggins in his clubhouse or misunderstanding the words of the national anthem.”

That’s why Leaf approached author Beverly Cleary with some ideas for “modernizing” the long-running series. “Mrs. Cleary was very much against having the Quimbys divorce or Ramona getting a tattoo,” reports Leaf, “but one idea did strike her fancy and several months later she sent us the most lovely manuscript -- a story that takes the Quimbys right into the twenty-first century, yet never loses the author’s characteristic warmth and good taste.”

RAMONA THE ANT opens with the now-fifth-grader overhearing a whispered conversation between her parents in which they wonder how Ramona will deal with becoming an “ant.” Misunderstanding, Ramona begins to study the ant-hill in her backyard with a magnifying glass and worriedly asks her science teacher, “Can kids turn into INSECTS?” Then Ramona’s parents sit her down and explain that big sister Beezus is facing an issue that happens “even in the best of families” : she is about to become a teenage mother.


“Ramona’s response is realistic and, by turns, fierce and funny,” states publisher Leaf. “Over the course of several chapters, we see Ramona change from a rather bratty kid who stands over her niece’s crib chanting, “Pie-face Pie-face,” to a caring young woman who comes to dearly love little Henrietta Huggins.”

Because of the sensitive nature of Cleary’s new book, the publisher is offering a free podcast off its website called “How to Share RAMONA THE ANT with your child.”

RAMONA THE ANT hits bookstore shelves today, just in time for April Fool’s Day.

17 comments:

Felicity said...

That's insane. I loved that Ramona books when I was in third grade (not that long ago, 6 years) and I found no problem with edginess. The books don't need to be edgy! The idea that Ramona would get a tattoo makes me laugh. I have distinct memories of loving what Ramona worried about, which seemed very real to me, and her getting a pixie haircut. I highly doubt that I will buy this book.

Felicity said...

Oops! I just realized that it is April Fool's Day. I am so gullible.

Fuse #8 said...

THANK YOU. I thought I was the only one doing April Fool's Day posts today. Glad to see that I was wrong. I think you win since you had visuals, though.

Monica Edinger said...

I loved this so much I posted about it at my blog today (with a link to yours). Getting some believers (check the comments)!

Peter said...

Big thanks to everyone who stopped by -- believers and nonbelievers alike! I'm beginning to wish every day was April Fool's, as this blog had more hits before breakfast today than I normally get in an entire day.

Special shout-out to Monica Edinger: Do you know which Newbery Honor Book was actually dedicated to the Dalton School? (Hint: it happened in the 1930s.)

Peter

Monica Edinger said...

Without looking I'm guessing something by author and Dalton teacher Peggy Parrish?

Monica Edinger said...

Hm...just looked at all the 1930 honors and...no idea. Floating Island?

Peter said...

Oh, I should have been more clear. I didn't meant 1930 itself...just some time in the thirties.

It's the 1935 Newbery Honor PAGEANT OF CHINESE HISTORY by Elizabeth Seeger.

I don't know if she ever attended school there.

Peter

Monica Edinger said...

No, she was a very beloved teacher there/here, though. I'll have to tell the Development Office; they'll get a kick out of this. (Susan Hirschman, founder of Greenwillow, went to Dalton and sang the old school song once to me in a bathroom at a publisher's function. Told the Development Office and they got in touch with her and then published that old song in their alumnae magazine.)

Anonymous said...

I hope this is an April Fool! You had me going- I even looked on Amazon for some reviews! Susan

Isdihara said...

Okay, you got me. *sigh* And I had been doing so well avoiding being April Fooled up until I read your blog.

Terrific prank post, btw.

I'll just skulk off in shame now... :-D

Sarah said...

"little Henrietta Huggins"
Oh this was delightful. And you totally had me, right up till the end.

Esperanza said...

After working April 1st with 600+ elementary students I could spot the joke a mile away. And what a good one! Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Oh, gee, you got me with this one. I was speechless with disbelief and rage. Beezus is so sensible! This is so out of character! Then I read your punchline. Whew!

Anonymous said...

ROFL! Good one! Love the dust jacket!

M.E. Kerr said...

Peter, what a great trick! Of course I was taken in immediately.You have a great, informative, funny blog. Keep going. xx M.E. Kerr

buy jeans said...

The permanence of the internet makes this kind of joke even more amusing. I just saw this today, and it wasn't until the photo was MENTIONED in the post that I looked at it closely and scrolled back up to the date to see if it was an AF.