Pennypacker, Sara. 2006. Clementine. Illustrated by Marla Frazee. New York: Hyperion Books for Children.
Move over, Ramona and Junie B., there’s a new kid on the block. Sara Pennypacker’s title character, Clementine, is a delightful imp with a heart of gold, but seems to find herself in some sticky situations due to the ideas that keep ‘sproinging up’ in her brain. Pennypacker provides the reader with heartwarmingly realistic characters, full of life and all its problems. Marla Frazee’s pen and ink illustrations accurately capture the essence of the characters that give movement and definition to the tempo of the story. The short, easy to read chapters told in first person narrative from Clementine’s point of view help keep the whirlwind pace that follows the turbulent title character. Even reluctant readers will find pleasure reading about Clementine’s antics from cutting her friend Margaret’s hair (badly) in an attempt to help remove gum to battling the Great Pigeon War with her father. Clementine has some great ideas; she just goes about achieving her goals in unusual and unpredictable ways. Yearning for acceptance and friendship, Clementine will tug at the heartstrings of anyone who has ever felt awkward and misunderstood. This book is definitely meant to be read aloud. If you do happen to read it silently, make sure you are alone because you will certainly get some strange looks when you suddenly burst into laughter at Clementine’s quirky musings and behavior. Older readers will enjoy the story on many layers. This book will keep you laughing out loud and wanting more. Luckily, there are other Clementine adventures on the way in the form of The Talented Clementine and Clementine’s Letter.