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Pennypacker, S. (2008). Clementine. New York, NY: Hyperion Paperbacks for Children.
Clementine is having a rough week. It seems she really tries to do the right thing, but things just never work out the way she pictures them. Although she and Margaret do not always get along, she began cutting Margaret’s with the best of intentions. She also had good intentions when she colored Margaret’s head, cut off her own hair, and colored her head too.
This week Clementine has a couple of problems that are really upsetting her. She and Margaret have a small argument and Margaret sits by another girl on the bus. Then she overhears a conversation between her parents and thinks they plan to get rid of her because she is the difficult child in the family. A bright spot in the week was when she solved her dad’s problem dubbed, “the great pigeon war. ”
Her parents love her and have tons of patience. They, of course were not planning to get rid of her, but rather were planning a party for her to thank her for helping solve her dad’s pigeon problem. She and Margaret made up in time so that Margaret came to the party. Best of all, she received a new kitten.
Clementine is bright and funny and good at expressing her honest observations and opinions. I thoroughly enjoyed Clementine’s direct, first-person dialog and seeing the world through her eyes. I hope that there are not too many children out there who have visit the school principal this often! This book is flows quickly with lots of action. It really reminds me of the Junie B. Jones books. I think it would be fun for boys and girls in third, fourth, and maybe even fifth grade.
Maybe it was because third-grader Clementine was a little bit angry with her best friend Margaret that things got out of hand with the scissors and the permanent markers and the hair. Or maybe she really was just trying to help. In short chapters, set in the city apartment building her father manages or the school where she has some tough days,Clementine relates the events of the trying week she discovered she was the difficult child in her family and thought she was about to be given away. Middle-grade readers will sympathize with Clementine’s conflicted feelings about her friend and her family, and laugh out loud at her impulsive antics, narrated in a fresh first-person voice and illustrated with plenty of humor. Just like her family they will cheer when she comes up with a way to end The Great Pigeon War as well as the temporary rift with her friend. Energetic and imaginative, Clementine is gifted with understanding and patient parents. Give this to readers of Cleary and Blume and cross your fingers for more. 2006, Hyperion, 144p, $14.99. Category: Fiction. Ages 7 to 10. Starred Review. © 2006 Kirkus Reviews/VNU eMedia, Inc. All rights reserved.
Kirkus. (2006, July 15). [Review of the book Clementine, by S. Pennypacker]. Kirkus Reviews 74(14). Retrieved from www.kirkusreviews.com
This humorous novel for young readers is reminiscent of Beverly Cleary’s Ramona Quimby and Barbara Park’s Junie B. Jones. The author has created a character who is lovable and very realistic. Clementine is in third grade and is a very unique and determined young girl filled with good intentions that don’t always work out the way she hopes. People are always telling her to “pay attention.” Several elements are key to the story – her relationship with her friend Margaret; missing her cat who dies before the story starts; her desire to help people, especially her dad with his pigeon problem; and worrying over the fact that she thinks her parents like her little brother better than they do her. This book makes a fine introduction to chapter books for upper primary grades; kids will relate to the funny situations. The pen and ink illustrations complement the storyline. They are especially good in showing what Clementine herself draws and thinks. This book would make a funny and fairly quick read-aloud too. I think it will become a favorite with your students. Recommended. 2006, Hyperion Books for Children/Disney Publishing Worldwide, 144pp., $14.99 hc. Ages 6 to 10.
Millwe-Widrick, M. (2007, February). [Review of the book Clementine, by S. Pennypacker]. Library Media Connection. Retrieved from www.librarymediaconnection.com
Uses in the Library
I am hoping to start a “Book Character Day” during Children’s Book Week. It would fun if I could get all of the staff to dress up like a children’s book character. I would dress up as Clementine and begin reading this fun book.