Saturday, March 20, 2010


Clementine's Letter

by Sara Pennypacker
ill. Marla Frazee

There are a certain group of young girls who star in early chapter books. Some of them, I find overly precocious, even obnoxious. Some I find not all that well-written. But when they are hit just right - think Ramona Quimby - they are fantastic. Clementine is like that.

Clementine is not precocious or convinced of her own specialness. The world does not need to revolve around her. She does not sound bratty. Rather, she is a girl who struggles a little to contain herself. In this third book in the series, she has started to find some strategies, and find out a little more about what she needs to succeed. She and her teacher have worked out a system, and she is doing better than ever in school.

And then... her teacher gets nominated for a year abroad, and she has to contend with a supply teacher while she also deals with her feelings about her teacher's possible departure. Part of this, too, is that the children are asked to write letters about why their teacher should be selected for the trip - the trip she really doesn't want him to go on.

So with a blend of humour and heart that is characteristic of her, Clementine muddles her way through, making mistakes, getting frustrated, but coming out on top in the end. I can't help but love this kid, and while I have to laugh at her escapades, I am always cheering for her and love seeing how her good intentions pull her through after all.

If you know a young girl, I highly recommend putting these books in her hands.

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