Clementine by Sara Pennypacker

Okay, fine. Clementine has had “not so good of a week.” The week starts with a visit to the principal’s office and ends with an almost disastrous going away party. In between, Clementine, although she almost always means well, manages to frustrate her best friend, her friend’s mom, her teacher, the principal, the principal’s secretary, and even her own mom. And she’s reminded to “pay attention” about a hundred times, give or take a few.

Clementine reminds me, of course, of Ramona Quimby. The book itself is a bit easier to read and a bit shorter than the Ramona books. (The book is written on about a second or third grade reading level, and it would make a great read aloud for classes at those grade levels.) But Clementine is definitely spunky just like Ramona. The picture of the little redheaded fireball upside down on the cover of the book reminds me of my little seven year old Bee. Any day now, Clementine should be joining the ranks of Jen’s Cool Girls from Children’s Literature, if she hasn’t already.

Clementine is not so good at journal writing and paying attention, better at math. She’s great at helping her comedian dad fight off the pigeons that mess up the front of their apartment building each day. She’s also a pretty good artist, but not so good at sitting still. In short, Clementine is a typical, wiggly, impetuous, bull-in-a-china-closet, little girl. She gets into lots of trouble, tries to help, and worries that maybe her parents will get tired of all her messes.

I think girls and boys will love reading about Clementine. Bee-girl, age seven, has started the book, and she’s enjoying it. Clementine is one of the best of the books nominated for the Cybil Award for Middle Grade Fiction.

Other blogger reviews of Clementine:

park(dale) life: “Okay, this book? The one that’s written for kids, like, less than a quarter of my age? It TOTALLY RULES.”

The Planet Esme: “I love these drawings, they are so timeless. Can they give a Caldecott for a chapter book?”

Fuse #8 Production: “Engaging, mischevious, never ever dull, and topped off by illustrations by Marla Frazee, Pennypacker’s early chapter book, Clementine, is everything you could hope for in a story for kids. Finally, a character that can challenge Ramona Quimby for her throne.”

Okay, fine. I think you could say we liked this book —a lot. And Amazon indicates that there’s a sequel, The Talented Clementine, coming out in April, 2007. Yes!

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