Sunday, January 21, 2018

Judging By The Covers: Beverly Cleary's "Ramona" Books

Ramona Quimby made her debut in 1950, in Beverly Cleary's first novel, Henry Huggins. Henry had a neighbor, Beezus. Beezus had a little sister, Ramona. And Ramona was a "perfect terror." Whether she was stealing newspapers from Henry's paper route, locking Henry inside his clubhouse, or running off with Henry's dog Ribsy's prized bone, she was certainly a force to be reckoned with.

Ramona continued to appear throughout the Henry series during the 1950s and 1960s. In 1955, Cleary published Beezus and Ramona, giving special attention to the Quimby sisters. It would be thirteen years before Ramona would get a book of her own (Ramona The Pest, 1968).

Over the next sixteen years, Cleary wrote 5 more Ramona books. Two of these, Ramona and Her Father and Ramona Quimby, Age 8, won Newbery Honors. After 1984's Ramona Forever, Cleary took a 15-year hiatus from the character, finally returning to her in 1999 with Ramona's World.

As the Ramona books have spanned multiple decades, they have belonged to different publishers at different times. In the beginning, they were published by William Morrow; later, Dell (Yearling); then onward to Avon (Camelot), Harper Collins, and Scholastic. Other countries have published the books as well, the most recognized name probably being Penguin Books in the UK, through the Puffin imprint. Naturally, each of these publishers has had their say when it comes to cover design.

Louis Darling illustrated the original editions of Beezus and Ramona and Ramona The Pest. The early covers for these books feature his work.



Louis Darling died in 1970. So, for 1975's Ramona The Brave, a new Ramona illustrator was needed. Enter Alan Tiegreen. He continued illustrating the Ramona books all the way through Ramona's World.



In recent years, the books have gotten new interior illustrations and covers courtesy of illustrator Tracy Dockray.



In between, of course, there have been other covers as well.

Below I've assembled an assortment of the Ramona book covers that are out there. Which do you remember from your childhood? Which are your favorites?


Beezus and Ramona (1955)







Ramona The Pest (1968)






Ramona The Brave (1975)





For some reason, when there's a cover with Ramona looking "realistic," I find it sort of unsettling.

Then again, check out this one from Spain:


Now that's creepy.


Ramona and Her Mother (1977)





The original hardcover (upper left) is my favorite, but I've always loved Mrs. Quimby's face on that toothpaste one.

This Spanish-language cover is pretty:


I'm thinking the world could use some more watercolor Ramona covers.


Ramona and Her Father (1979)









Ramona Quimby, Age 8 (1981)







Ramona Forever (1984)






Ramona's World (1999)






Considering this series has enjoyed lasting popularity, I'm sure the covers will continue to be updated again and again.

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Hey! Check out out my other posts on the topic of book covers!


And, if you're looking for some laughs, be sure to visit: LousyBookCovers.com! :)


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