Newbery Medal-winning author Beverly Cleary gives Henry’s dog, Ribsy, center stage in this dog’s eye view of the adventure of a lifetime. This classic story about a dog and his boy is as fresh and funny as ever! Good ol’ Ribsy’s ever-curious mind has always gotten him into trouble, but this time he may have gone too far. After a comical turn of events, Ribsy finds himself in the wrong station wagon with the wrong children. Ribsy will do anything to find Henry, but there’s plenty of excitement to be had along the way—and scoring a touchdown for a local high school team is only part of the fun! For kids looking for a fast, funny dog story, Ribsy is a winner.
Ribsy was a very fun book to read, and it works perfectly fine as a standalone book—that is, you don’t have to read other Beverly Cleary books first, though it might be even more delightful if you have so that you can appreciate a few small passages, like when the stranger girl Ramona comes up and annoys Ribsy. A familiar Homeward Bound-esque story about a lost dog struggling to find home again, Ribsy is entertaining and manages to feel original. Each mini adventure along Ribsy’s trek back to Klickitat Street is exciting and kids will love getting inside a dog’s brain as Ribsy tries to understand a cast of lovable characters. Parents should discuss with their reader the way that Ribsy’s boy Henry and some of the other boys at a school infrequently show harmful bias when in a couple instances it’s expressed that the boys think girls are dumb. For example, “[a]ll the boys laughed. They were sure they would be good at drilling holes,” in response to a woman’s struggle to drill holes into a critter’s cage; and “Beezus, who, for a girl, was very sensible.” Considering Ramona expresses her own untoward views about boys at times in Cleary’s other books, these instances in Ribsy felt more like outdated attempts at playfulness, but still important to discuss.
Beverly Cleary is one of America’s most beloved authors. As a child, she struggled with reading and writing. But by third grade, after spending much time in her public library in Portland, Oregon, she found her skills had greatly improved. Before long, her school librarian was saying that she should write children’s books when she grew up.Instead she became a librarian. When a young boy asked her, “Where are the books about kids like us?” she remembered her teacher’s encouragement and was inspired to write the books she’d longed to read but couldn’t find when she was younger. She based her funny stories on her own neighborhood experiences and the sort of children she knew. And so, the Klickitat Street gang was born!Mrs. Cleary’s books have earned her many prestigious awards, including the American Library Association’s Laura Ingalls Wilder Award, presented to her in recognition of her lasting contribution to children’s literature. Dear Mr. Henshaw won the Newbery Medal, and Ramona Quimby, Age 8 and Ramona and Her Father have been named Newbery Honor Books. Her characters, including Beezus and Ramona Quimby, Henry Huggins, and Ralph, the motorcycle-riding mouse, have delighted children for generations.
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