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written by Sara Pennypacker, illustrated by Marla Frazee

CLEMENTINE, by Sara Pennypacker, introduces us to a delightful, lovable and totally unpredictable child who has her own way of looking at the world.

In this introductory book we spend a week with Clementine, but it's not going well. She has to deal with bad hair and is allergic to sitting still. In describing her week Clementine explains that teachers, parents and principals are always telling her to pay attention. But Clementine is confused. She does pay attention --- though perhaps not to what they want.

"I was the only person in the whole art room who WAS paying attention. Which is why I could tell everyone right in the middle of the Pledge of Allegiance that the lunchroom lady was sitting in the janitor's car and they were kissing. Again. No one else saw this disgusting scene, because no one else was paying attention out the window!"

Laughing (or groaning) my way through most of the book, I was grateful that this child wasn't mine --- even while I was admiring her creative thought process.

Best friend Margaret is the complete opposite of Clementine, always so very neat and careful. When Margaret finds glue in her hair, she is so upset that she decides to cut it out, resulting in a big bald patch on her head. An ever-so-considerate Clementine agrees to help; together they chop off all of Margaret's beautiful hair, leaving only a few clumped stubbles.

That is the start of the bad hair week. Over the next few days Clementine cuts her own hair to make Margaret feel better and colors both their heads with permanent markers. Margaret's mother isn't quite as understanding as Clementine's is.

Clementine's knack for getting into trouble arises from her creative thinking as well as her attempts to help others and resolve dilemmas. However, before the week concludes, she really does solve a problem and becomes a new hero --- for both her dad and for children's chapter books.

Clementine's mind runs like a maze, taking curious new turns with every thought while competing with her fidgety body 24 hours a day. For this reason alone, second and third grade fans of Lois Lowry (Gooney Bird Greene), Beverly Cleary (Ramona) and numerous Judy Blume books will welcome this irresistible character and eagerly await future adventures with Clementine.

Reviewed by Patsy Side on September 12, 2006

written by Sara Pennypacker, illustrated by Marla Frazee

  • Publication Date: September 12, 2006
  • Hardcover: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Hyperion Book CH
  • ISBN-10: 0786838825
  • ISBN-13: 9780786838820