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Clementine, Friend of the Week


Clementine, Friend of the Week

written by Sara Pennypacker, illustrated by Marla Frazee

Even though everyone in the class gets to be Friend of the Week during the school year, Clementine is thrilled when it is finally her turn. She turns to her friend Margaret, who is one year ahead of her at school, for advice on how to make sure the booklet her classmates will make for her is full of kind words, but Margaret's advice is a bit off the mark. Could it be that Friend of the Week was the one thing Margaret herself didn't excel at? Sara Pennypacker's latest Clementine book, CLEMENTINE, FRIEND OF THE WEEK, is full of the same sweet emotion and hilarious antics as the previous three installments following this dynamic and likable character.

As Friend of the Week, Clementine gets to be the line leader, collect the milk money, feed the class pet, and tell her class all about her life so far. She is most excited though about the booklet, where all the kids in class write about why they like being in class with Clementine. To ensure only positive remarks, Clementine decides to go out of her way to be helpful and nice to all of them. Her first plan involves custom tattoos, and her best idea is to help everyone decorate their bicycles for the school bike rally fund raiser. But as Clementine's special week gets underway, her joy and anticipation are squashed by a big fight with Margaret and the disappearance of her kitten, Moisturizer.

Clementine is not quite sure why Margaret is so mad, but it may have something to do with Margaret's own Friend of the Week booklet. When she realizes that Moisturizer is lost, she has to focus all her attention on finding him. The fight with Margaret, the bike rally and Friend of the Week are nothing compared to the thought that her kitten is out there in the cold Boston night alone. Clementine uses her artistic ability to create “Lost Kitten” posters, and she and her family plaster the neighborhood with them. Unfortunately, the phone is silent; no one has found the little orange cat, and Clementine is miserable and heartbroken.

The last day of her special week at school comes and goes, as does the bike rally. Clementine stays home from school and forgets all about her promises to help her classmates decorate their bicycles. Margaret is still not talking to her, and Moisturizer is still lost. But after a long and difficult week, the Sunday edition of the Boston Globe has a story that just may reconcile Margaret and Clementine and help bring Moisturizer home safely.

Once again, Sara Pennypacker's prose is delightful. Clementine is clever, creative, honest and sassy. Her parents and friends are all well-developed and provide the perfect supporting cast to her hijinks and adventures. Though laugh-out-loud funny in many parts, CLEMENTINE, FRIEND OF THE WEEK is quite thoughtful and compelling. Marla Frazee's black and white illustrations nicely capture key moments in the story and are in the same style one imagines Clementine would draw in as an adult. This is wonderful as a read-aloud chapter book for younger children or a read-alone story for older ones; it is sure to amuse and entertain with its tale of loss, patience and friendship.

Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman on May 3, 2011

Clementine, Friend of the Week
written by Sara Pennypacker, illustrated by Marla Frazee

  • Publication Date: May 3, 2011
  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Hyperion Book CH
  • ISBN-10: 1423115600
  • ISBN-13: 9781423115601