I am a HUGE fan of Beverly Clearly. Apart from not reading Dear Mr. Henshaw, I've read nearly every book of hers out there (including her "teen" books - Fifteen, Sister of the Bride, etc.)
Some of my most vivid childhood memories involve her books . . . Like when I lost my 9th birthday party (don't ask why) but I still got a couple of presents and one of them was Ramona and her Mother. And then there was the time I cured myself of reading in the bathtub when I accidentally dropped my beloved copy of Ramona the Pest and made it 3 times its normal size.
I do have my favorites: Ramona the Pest, Socks, Fifteen, Emily's Runaway Imagination, Mitch and Amy, and my all time favorite . . . Ellen Tebbits.
Last week, during quiet reading time at school, I pulled out a copy of Ellen Tebbits from our class library and suddenly I was 9 years old again. And I realized that of all the Beverly Cleary books I have read, Ellen Tebbits is the only one I could probably recite, part and parcel, the entire story from beginning to end.
And that made me wonder . . . why is that?
After mulling this question over and over in my brain this past weekend, I figured out it probably has to do with how much I identify with Ellen. Then as much as now.
Ellen tries her best to be perfect . . . to do her best at everything. Obey her mother, desperately wants her teacher's approval and is devastated when things don't work out the way she plans.
For better or for worse, that was me as a kid. And to a certain extent, that's me now. The great thing about Ellen is that she does learn from her mistakes.
And just like Ellen, I like to think that I do too. :)