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The Talented Clementine

Review

The Talented Clementine

THE TALENTED CLEMENTINE is a wonderful book. With the spunk of Ramona Quimby and the curiosity of Jo March, third-grader Clementine is a fantastic role model for those who believe that --- someway, somehow, someday --- their own special talents will be needed in the world at large, and at that defining moment of their lives they will be ready to work magic with them.

Clementine is worried. After all, unlike her upstairs neighbor Margaret who can do pretty much anything she can think of --- from cartwheels to riding horses, tap dancing and karate --- Clementine doesn't have a definable talent for the annual talent contest at school. In fact, Clementine delivers herself to the principal and announces that with a discernible touch of grace and whimsy.

Sent back to her classroom and then home to encouraging parents whose unconditional love fails to help her in her quandary, Clementine keeps on keeping on until a moment --- completely unannounced --- when she does what she does naturally, and it turns out to be just the right thing!

Sara Pennypacker's Clementine is a great kid who shines brightly from the page. Curly mop of hair notwithstanding, Clementine's voice and her whole character are completely and sweetly original. As in the previous CLEMENTINE, she manages to make her way around the often frightening realities of grade school (academic and social competition, putting her foot in her mouth one too many times, calling her baby brother by vegetable names) with a healthy amount of questioning and a strange but true sort of kid logic.

Although fashion does come into play when Clementine needs new sneakers and Margaret mocks her fashion statement, Clementine's style --- in word, deed and dress --- ends up serving her and her fellow third-graders well at the climactic moment of the talent show, when Clementine learns what her true talent is and utilizes it with great aplomb to make sure everything goes smoothly.

Here's hoping that Clementine will shine in another volume soon. This will become a series that can be highly recommended to all kids, especially girls, no matter what their talents are!

Reviewed by Jana Siciliano on May 1, 2007

The Talented Clementine
by Sara Pennypacker

  • Publication Date: May 1, 2007
  • Hardcover: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Hyperion Book CH
  • ISBN-10: 0786838701
  • ISBN-13: 9780786838707