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Featured books by Beverly Cleary

The characters created by Beverly Cleary are as fresh today as when they were first published. Her understanding of children and their real-life concerns are reflected in her books for readers of all ages.

Many already know Ramona and the Quimbys, but have you met Maggie Schultz or Henry Huggins? How about Emily Bartlett or Ralph S. Mouse? What about Janet and Jimmy? They're all just as memorable and it's likely that readers will see themselves as they meet new friends in the pages of books by this amazing author.

Beezus and Ramona

By: Beverly Cleary
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Having a four-year old sister like Ramona can be a real pain as 9-year old Beezus (aka Beatrice) knows all too well. Ramona likes to do things in her own often pesky, frequently funny, and always imaginative way. The movie version of the modern classic is due out in March 2010.

Dear Mr. Henshaw

By: Beverly Cleary
Illustrated by: Paul O. Zelinsky
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

A young boy, Leigh, begins writing letters to a famous author, Mr. Henshaw, revealing what's going on in his life — like his parents' divorce — as he gradually matures and finds his place in the world. Leigh's voice is plausible and poignant.

Emily's Runaway Imagination

By: Beverly Cleary
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Emily Bartlett lives in an old farmhouse in Pitchfork, Oregon at a time when automobiles are brand-new inventions and libraries are a rare luxury. Can Emily use her lively mind to help bring a library to Pitchfork? ReadWriteThink offers a persuasive writing lesson plan featuring this book.

Henry Huggins

By: Beverly Cleary
Illustrated by: Tracy Dockray
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Henry Huggins is a regular kid who longs for some excitement in his otherwise normal – and he thinks boring life. When it arrives in the form of a scrawny dog he names Ribsy, the adventures and laughs begin!

Janet's Thingamajigs

By: Beverly Cleary
Illustrated by: DyAnne DiSalvo-Ryan
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Janet and Jimmy are twins but like all siblings, Janet doesn't want Jimmy to touch her stuff. She takes her mother's suggestion and puts her "thingamajigs" in a special place. Janet's thingamajigs are dispatched when her special place, her crib, is replaced by a regular twin bed and the twins realize they're growing up. Full color illustrations complement the tone of this recognizable milestone in children's lives.

Lucky Chuck

By: Beverly Cleary
Illustrated by: J. Winslow Higginbottom
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Chuck throws caution to the wind, along with safety rules, when he rides on his spiffy new red motorcycle. That is, until he's brought back to reality by a highway patrol officer! Lively, alliterative language and realistic illustrations combine for this funny cautionary tale.

Muggie Maggie

By: Beverly Cleary
Illustrated by: Kay Life
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Maggie stubbornly refuses to learn cursive in third grade; those curves and connections between letters are silly (hence the Muggie!). With a little help from a perceptive teacher, however, Maggie is able to change her opinion without losing her dignity.

Otis Spofford

By: Beverly Cleary
Illustrated by: Louise Darling
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Otis Spofford likes to stir up a bit of excitement at home and in his third grade class; nothing awful, of course, just enough to keep things interesting. But he meets his match when he teases Ellen Tebbits and gets his comeuppance!

Petey's Bedtime Story

By: Beverly Cleary
Illustrated by: David Smalls
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Petey loves bedtime, because that's when he gets to hear the story of when he was born. Complete with fire trucks and wheelchairs racing through hospital halls, Petey takes over and embellishes his own story. Children and their parents will recognize themselves in this very funny book.

Ralph S. Mouse

By: Beverly Cleary
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Ralph is a mouse who speaks human and lives at the Mountain View Inn run by Ryan’s family. The fun starts when Ralph’s motorcycle breaks and he convinces Ryan to take him to a mysterious place called school. Characters come to life through the lively narration.

Ramona and Her Father

By: Beverly Cleary
Illustrated by: Beverly Cleary
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Ramona deals with her father's job loss, her mom's return to work, and the normal trials of second grade in her own unique and very funny fashion. Her campaign to get her father to stop smoking is both a humorous and a very Ramona way to show her love for him.

Ramona Quimby, Age 8

By: Beverly Cleary
Illustrated by: Beverly Cleary
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Family

Ramona is ready for the challenges of a new school — without her older sister. It's a year of change for the Quimby family and if everyone else can adjust, so can Ramona. The normal challenges of family life come alive here with verve and humor.

Ramona the Pest

By: Beverly Cleary, Tracy Dockray
Illustrated by: Tracy Dockray
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Ramona loves kindergarten and her wonderful teacher, Miss Binney. But even the best teacher and the most enthusiastic kindergartner can have a rough day or so. This leads to laughs for readers as they empathize with Ramona, who can be rather a pest and perhaps the first-ever kindergarten dropout.

Ramona's World

By: Beverly Cleary, Tracy Dockray
Illustrated by: Tracy Dockray
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Ramona, now starting 4th grade, gets a teacher who is a stickler for proper spelling. Ramona is propelled into writing a letter when she finds an error in an advertisement — all with the verve and humor readers expect of Ramona.

Socks

By: Beverly Cleary
Illustrated by: Alan Tiegreen
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Socks has a difficult start in life, but things get much better when he is taken in by the Brickers. The young couple adore their feline friend. But when the baby arrives, Socks loses his place at the center of the Brickers' universe. Socks' antics are both humorous and recognizable in this engaging novel. Older siblings will relate!

The Mouse and the Motorcycle

By: Beverly Cleary, Tracy Dockray
Illustrated by: Tracy Dockray
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

While on a family vacation in California, the Gridleys stay in an old hotel where a mouse named Ralph finds a toy motorcycle and meets Keith, the youngest Gridley. Thus begins a friendship and a memorable adventure of a mouse on a motorcycle. Ralph's adventures continue in Ralph S. Mouse (1982).

Two Times the Fun

By: Beverly Cleary
Illustrated by: Carol Thomas
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Four picture books about twins, Jimmy and Janet, have been newly formatted and illustrated to create an appealing and attractive chapter book. Readers will see themselves in the characters as they try to carve out their own space within their family. This is an ideal read aloud for younger children or a solid read alone for independent readers.

Books illustrated by Beverly Cleary

Ramona and Her Father

By: Beverly Cleary
Illustrated by: Beverly Cleary
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Ramona deals with her father's job loss, her mom's return to work, and the normal trials of second grade in her own unique and very funny fashion. Her campaign to get her father to stop smoking is both a humorous and a very Ramona way to show her love for him.

Ramona Quimby, Age 8

By: Beverly Cleary
Illustrated by: Beverly Cleary
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Family

Ramona is ready for the challenges of a new school — without her older sister. It's a year of change for the Quimby family and if everyone else can adjust, so can Ramona. The normal challenges of family life come alive here with verve and humor.

Interested in wonderful interviews with tween and teen authors? Hop on over to our sister site, AdLit.org, and browse the library.

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"To learn to read is to light a fire; every syllable that is spelled out is a spark." — Victor Hugo, Les Miserables