Ramona the Pest is a middle grade classic. I have enjoyed reading the Ramona books with each of my girls. But, we have read so much "Ramona" that I couldn't keep straight which adventures happened in this book and which happened in other books. (My girls kept me on the right track, though.)
We talked about Beverly Cleary. Did you know, Ramona, was initially just an "extra" character? While Beverly was writing Henry Huggins, she decided that Beatrice needed a little sister. Just as she was thinking about this little sister, she heard someone in her neighborhood call out "Ramona" and she thought that would make a great name for a little sister. Little did she know that Ramona would become one of the best loved characters in middle grade fiction.
I like reading Ramona with my children (although I think Ramona gets away with a lot more than I would ever let my children get away with . . . ) partly because each chapter reads almost like a stand alone story. The chapters build on each other somewhat, but you can easily "pick up" where you left off. So, we often use Ramona books as back up books if we can't find the book we are currently reading, we have a Ramona book we can read. (Not finding the book seems to be a regular theme at our house . . . with some of my children . . . I don't know if it is the clutter, or the little bookworms who like to re-read or study the pictures and then fail to put the book back on the shelf . . . )
For our craft, we made containers to put any lost teeth in . . . I just used some trial size travel jars from Wal-mart and foam stickers. We also made a little purse from felt (purchased years ago from Oriental Trading) . . . for a fun place to put our tooth jars!
After reading time and craft time, we enjoyed doughnuts and apple juice for our treat.
Mike Mulligan by Virginia Lee Burton
Of course we read Mike Mulligan (Lala requested that we NOT read it, but I convinced her it would be fun. She ended up liking it.) We did discuss for a bit whether or not Mike Mulligan ever stopped to use the restroom . . .
Note: I like Mike Mulligan, but my favorite Virginia Burton book is The Little House, a Caldecott winner in 1943.
Not Norman by Kelly Bennett
A boy complains about his pet . . . a goldfish he didn't want. He wants almost any other kind of pet . . .but Not Norman. So, he plans to take Norman to show and tell (see the connection?) in hopes of enticing someone else to take Norman home.
Miss Nelson is Missing by Harry Allard
Although homeschooled and not really familiar with the idea of a "substitute" teacher . . . my children LOVE Harry Allard's books about Miss Nelson, and her alter-ego Miss Viola Swamp.
Miss Nelson is a sweet teacher who has a naughty class. One day she doesn't come to school and a warty, frumpy, nearly tyrannical substitute in an ugly black dress takes her place. She give the children lots of homework and makes them be polite . . . and even listen during story hour! They are so relieved when Miss Nelson returns that they behave nicely for her, too.
(Connection: Ramona was concerned about the substitute in her Kindergarten class.)
Lily's Purple Plastic Purse by Kevin Henkes
We adore the mouse world of Kevin Henkes (Sheila Rae the Brave and Chrysanthemum are family classics! We also love Owen, Wemberly Worried, Julius (The Baby of the World), and A Weekend With Wendell, to name a few). Lily loves her teacher, Mr. Slinger, and wants to be a teacher when she grows up. One day, Lily brings a purple plastic purse to school, and is so excited about it, she allows it to become a distraction to the class. Mr. Slinger confiscates the purse until the end of the school day. Lily is mortified, and writes a mean note about Mr. Slinger. She has a change of heart after a nice note from Mr. Slinger and some family time at home.
(Connection: Ramona has some trouble with her teacher, but a note solves the dilemma in the end.)
The Night Before Halloween
A Halloween version of The Night Before Christmas by Clement C. Moore. I picked this up for fifty cents at our local "Goodwill" . . . Lala is in LOVE with this book and insisted we read it at her book club party as a connection to Ramona as the "Baddest Witch in the World."
Wanted-A Witch's Cat by Shelagh McGee
Sometimes by Jack Prelutsky
Someone's Face by John Ciardi
A Circle of Sun by Rebecca Kai Dotlich
The No No Bird by Andrew Fusek Peters
Rain by Spike Mulligan
April Rain Song by Langston Hughes