Thursday, May 26, 2011

For the love of Ramona Quimby

Last Sunday we packed the kids and our bikes up and headed to Portland to the Beverly Cleary walk tour. 
I think I was more excited than my kids to immerse myself in the world of Ramona and her fictional stomping grounds.  The Ramona books were some of my favorites growing up not only for the endlessly entertaining antics of Ramona and Beezus themselves, but also because the series is set in the rainy Northwest.  As a child it was easy to imagine Ramona's world because it was so similar to my own.  Imagine my delight then as Ella has discovered Ramona for herself and gobbles the books up faster than we can make it to the library to check out more! 

Our self guided tour began at the Hollywood branch library in Portland where a helpful librarian gave us a map and encouraged us along in our endeavour.  We set out on our bikes and peddled around the beautiful old neighborhoods that make up the Hollywood district.  I had seen a photo earlier on the Internet of Beverly Cleary's childhood house and since it was painted a brick red it was not hard to find tucked in amongst the streets.  We stopped to admire the statues of Ramona, Beezus and Ribsby in Grant park - which the kids declared were "creepy", played and ate our lunch.  After lunch we finished our tour which wound us past the elementary and high schools which Cleary attended.  As we finished our ride the rain began, so ducking in a cozy coffee shop to warm up was the perfect ending for our day.  As we left Portland to head back home to Salem we made a point of driving down Klicitat Street to try and find Ramona's house.  We found a gracious bungalow that we thought might likely be hers and curiosities were satisfied.  All in all we had a wonderful time!

If you're interested in checking out this tour for yourself go here to find some info.  Please note that the map is part fiction and part real and quite a bit of imagination must be used to make this tour extra special -  but that's what makes it so fun and charming! 

p.s.  If you are looking into either buying or checking out the Ramona series I would encourage you to check out the original pencil illustrations done by Louis Darling  some of which I've posted here.  I think they are amazing!

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