In this touching and funny story, the ebullient Ramona, feeling brave and grown-up, enters first grade. Quickly she finds that her new teacher, Mrs. Griggs, appears perplexed by pupils who like to be different. Since Ramona cannot help being different, clearly the two are incompatible.
Nevertheless, Ramona can be counted on to keep things lively. Enraged when Susan copies her wise old owl prepared for Parents' Night and receives praise for it, Ramona rebels. Overcome by guilt and no longer brave, she tries mightily thereafter to please her teacher, but still Mrs. Griggs infuriatingly reports home that Ramona lacks self-control. Only because she is a girl with "spunk," to use her father's word, does Ramona's courage return, earning her at last an uneasy truce with the teacher.
Beverly Cleary draws here a portrait of a little girl discovering with astonishment that the way others see her is not always the way she sees herself. In the contrast lie moments of emerging self-knowledge for Ramona and of delicious hilarity for the reader.