— Ramona drummed harder to show everyone how bad she was. She would not take off her shoes. She was a terrible, wicked girl! Being such a bad, terrible, horrid, wicked girl made her feel good! She brought both heels against the wall at the same time. Thump! Thump! Thump! She was not the least bit sorry for what she was doing. She would never be sorry. Never! Never! Never!
One of the world’s great inventions, only a little behind the light bulb, was Ramona Quimby, the strong-willed, lovable and exasperating star of “Ramona the Pest” and other books. For decades the Ramona books have been a gateway drug luring young readers into the spellbinding world of books.
Ramona’s inventor, Beverly Cleary, has sold 85 million copies of her books about Ramona, Henry Huggins, Ralph S. Mouse and other beloved figures. Cleary will turn 100 on Tuesday, so I asked her about her characters, her life and her wisdom.
Now living in a retirement home in Carmel, California, she immediately disclaimed any grand thoughts about reaching a century.