My goal of reading every Beverly Cleary book this year is going to be a failure, but not for lack of trying. I’ll eventually hit all of them, but turns out the author is a lot more prolific than I originally thought.
The thing I’ve really grown to like about Cleary’s work is that it is universal. She writes about everyday things that happen to everyday kids.
Which is why Muggie Maggie fails. The story is about a young girl who is struggling with cursive writing. I know many school districts are doing away with teaching kids proper cursive as the computer takes hold. So from the beginning, the story is based on a weak premise. Technology always interferes with a reader getting involved with the plot. If the technology is outdated, then a reader may dismiss the story as antiquated as well. While Maggie does have a computer, it’s clearly a basic one from the 1980s. There’s no internet on it or video games. And I think that discrepency may exclude kids of today.
However, Cleary’s Socks is a great universal tale. She writes from the perspective of a pet cat who is learning to adjust to life with new owners. As the family grows, Socks begins to be overlooked for the new baby. He grows irritated with the situation and acts out. If you’ve always wondered what your cat was thinking when he did something, Clearly gives a pretty good idea of what might be going on in his head.