Beverly Cleary turns 90

Happy birthday to beloved children's author who gave us Ramona the Pest, Henry Huggins.

Published April 12, 2006 11:25PM (EDT)

Oh, Ramona Quimby! I didn't think you were a pest. I thought you were a girl just like me. You envied your classmate Susan's reddish brown curls that bounced because you had ordinary brown hair. You were scared of big dogs. And you hated that everyone made fun of you when you named your doll Chevrolet because you thought it was the most beautiful name in the world. How did you know you weren't supposed to name a doll after a car? And when your dad lost his job, you came up with a scheme to star in a television commercial so you could earn your family a million dollars. My dad lost his job, too. And I sure felt a whole lot better knowing there was another little girl out there like me.

Your creator Beverly Cleary introduced you, your big sister Beezus, your neighor Henry Huggins and his dog Ribsy to us in the 1950s, according to NPRs All Things Considered. She tells Debbie Elliott that she decided to write books about you and everyone else on Klickitat Street in Portland, Oregon when she worked as a children's librarian and some boys asked her where they could find the books about "kids like us." Well, we're sure glad she wrote them -- and others like "The Mouse and the Motorcycle," "Ellen Tebbits," "Otis Spofford" and "Socks."

Here's what she wrote about you once when you wanted your mom to take you to your first day of kindergarten: "Nobody but a genuine grownup was going to take her to school. If she had to, she would make a great big noisy fuss, and when Ramona made a great big noisy fuss, she usually got her own way. Great big noisy fusses were often necessary when a girl was the youngest member of her family and the youngest person on her block."

Well, Ms. Cleary turns 90 this week. So we just wanted to thank you for all your stories and wish her a happy birthday!

By Sarah Elizabeth Richards

Sarah Elizabeth Richards is a journalist based in New York. She can be reached at

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