fiction favorites…Clementine

Clementine, by Sara Pennypacker, pictures by Marla Frazee 

I have had not so good of a week.

Well, Monday was a pretty good day, if you don’t count Hamburger Surprise at lunch and Margaret’s mother coming to get her.  Or the stuff that happened in the principal’s office when I got sent there to explain that Margaret’s hair was not my fault and besides she looks okay without it, but I couldn’t because Principal Rice was gone, trying to calm down Margaret’s mother.

Someone should tell you not to answer the phone in the principal’s office, if that’s a rule.

Okay, fine, Monday was not so good of a day.


With this delightful explanation we are whooshed into the world of Clementine, an irrepressible, independent third-grader who doesn’t like to sit still and somehow, inevitably manages to meander her way into trouble without quite understanding how she got there.  Clementine’s account of her days, her chats with the principal, her well-intentioned disasters, and her views on incomprehensible rules are funny and warm, full of spunk and sparkling with charm. 

The story revolves around an incident involving Clementine, her friend Margaret, Margaret’s hair, a bit of glue, and a pair of Do-Not-Remove-from-the-Art-Room scissors.  From this opening disaster, numerous consequences work their ways into Clementine’s week, among which is a forlorn worry that perhaps she is too much trouble for her dear parents.  The ever-present humor will make you chuckle, the innocently-caused chaos will make you groan, and the sweet relationship Clementine shares with her parents will warm your heart.  

There are a number of these short-ish Clementine novels for the 7-9 year old crowd.  So far, I have read just one other, Clementine’s Letter, and enjoyed it very much as well.  If you’ve read Ramona Quimby stories by Beverly Cleary you have a feel for the tone of these books, though these have a more modern cadence to them.  The illustrations by Marla Frazee are completely charming.  Her vision of Clementine breathes a life and flair and affection into this character which perfectly complement the writing.  For a breezy, enjoyable, memorable read, try some Clementine.