105 Ways to Give a Book


ClementineI cannot say enough good things about Clementine, by Sara Pennypacker. I would put it on my list of favorites of all time. It’s Junie B. without so many of the grammar issues. It’s Ramona but more modern. It’s Judy Moody without the attitude.

No, it’s Clementine.

Here is the first page in its entirety.
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.
I love it! She has some great made-up words, such as saying that Margaret always makes “I-wish” eyes about a bracelet she wants and how Clementine and her mother made “corner-eyes” at each other. She calls her brother vegetable names all through the book,
because she doesn’t think it is fair that she got a fruit name. But you know she loves him because she gives him spinning rides in her mother’s wok.

And how about this:
While Margaret was looking out the window, I accidentally touched her mask.

Twice. Okay, fine.
The illustrations by Marla Frazee show off the playful, lively spirit of this girl and her family. The tone of the writing captures the language and thought process of a creative eight-year-old girl. The author also gives a fair treatment to Clementine’s parents, who are both thrilled to have such an interesting child and frustrated by her mess-ups.

I read it aloud to my daughters, ages seven and ten, and they loved it too. Actually, my ten-year-old enjoyed it more. Even though I’d say the book is written for a second or third grader, it is one that may be better with a little distance from the age.

I haven’t even told you the story, but I’m not sure it matters. An eight-year-old girl tries to help a friend with a little hair problem, but makes it worse. And then makes it worse still. And even yet again. Then she does something good by helping her father with his pigeon problems...

You know what? Just read it yourself. There is no way that you will regret it.


Anonymous said...

I cannot wait to read and recommend this book. Is it a series? Ramona is my all time favorite book character. I have read all her books, even the ones that came out when I was too old to be reading them.

I have a friend with a fourth grader (10 in March) who hates to read. I think I will get this for her.

Little Willow said...

I requested it from the library. :)

MotherReader said...

I can only hope that it will be a series. It is so funny and well done.

I like Clarice Bean too, and I would say it's more childlike than CB.

Nancy said...

It sounds fantastic

Little Willow said...

I read Clementine this morning. HOW CUTE. This book is totally going in my Ramona category! My favorite illustrations - other than the cover - are the parents framed in the doorway while Clementine pretends to sleep, and the hugging-a-cat-in-a-bathroom picture - I'm sure you could have guessed that one.

The Talented Clementine by Sara Pennypacker, illustrated by Marla Frazee, is coming out in APRIL 2007.