Saturday, April 5, 2008

Oh My Darling Clementine!


I finished the newest Clementine book, Clementine's Letter, in a little over an hour. Okay, so it's a 2nd-3rd grade reading level, but even so, I couldn't put this book down and I literally laughed out loud numerous times. I would expect nothing less from this crazy, yet lovable third grader! The first two books, Clementine and The Talented Clementine, set some high standards, but once again, Sara Pennypacker delivers!


The letter in question is one Clementine writes to "recommend" her teacher for a chance to study in Egypt for a year. The entire class is asked to write letters why their teacher should be chosen from the three finalists, to be read in front of the judges at the state building. Clementine, however, does not want her teacher to leave, especially since she and her teacher are finally "in sink". I don't want to ruin all the fun, so you'll have to read it to find out if her teacher wins or not. But honestly, the trip there is worth it! Laugh out loud moments in every chapter, throughout the chapter. It reminds me of all those crazy conversations I've had with younger patrons where they just say something completely off-topic or short-and-simple true. Clementine's relationship with her parents, friends, neighbors, and the three year old brother whom she calls a different vegetable name every day (because the only thing worse than being named after a fruit is being named after a vegetable!) are so real. And there is one particularly sweet storyline involving Clementine and her dad writing a story. That part of the plot not only gives a wonderful (and in today's society, truly hopeful) picture of parent-child relationship, but it sets up the lesson Clementine learns: think before you act.


This series is great for fans (of any age) who loved Beverly Cleary, Judy Blume, or Lois Lowry's Gooney books. Clementine and Ramona Quimby would be best friends... or possibly worst enemies... since they are so much alike. And Marla Frazee's illustrations are perfect! Clementine is now one of my favorite book characters of all time!

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