The new movie based on Beezus and Ramona is out this weekend.Â I don’t really know much about it, but I think I can predict it’ll be a big financial success.Â As near as I can figure, every little girl has read this book for the last fifty years.Â When I posted the following on Facebook:
“Is anyone else annoyed that Hollywood decided to retitle Beezus and Ramona as Ramona and Beezus?”
Five of my women friends were immediately all like, “Yes!Â Thank you.”Â Years after reading it, we are all still carrying around enormous affection for this book.Â Enough that we’re personally offended by what is, when all is said and done, a fairly minor change.
I’m not sure if I’ll see it in theaters, but this week I decided to pick up Ramona’s World, the only Ramona book published after my own childhood.Â I’m a few chapters in and, I must confess, not fully engrossed yet.Â I guess I am a little old for it.Â But it’s got me pondering the following question:
Would Beezus and Ramona be published today?
I mean, all it is is a thoroughly charming story about a precocious little girl and her big sister.Â As hooks go, there’s not much of one.Â Where are the vampires and the explosions and the ZOMG zombies?Â Where is the hook?
Maybe I’m wrong.Â Maybe I know jack squat about Middle Grade publishing trends.Â But when I imagine the query letter I’d write for Beezus and Ramona, I’m not optimistic about the response.
I don’t know whether a modern day Ramona would ever hit the bookshelves.Â But here here are a few things I do know:
- If you measure people by the joy they give others, Beverly Cleary’s worth is enormous.
- When a property has this much love, adapters would do well to be faithful to the original, and
- That teacher should have known she was causing trouble when she told Ramona to “sit here for the present.”Â Honestly, what was she thinking?