Monday, January 22, 2007
Pennypacker, Sara. 2006. CLEMENTINE. Ill. by Marla Frazee. New York: Hyperion. ISBN 0786838825 [Suggested Grade Levels 2-4]
Pennypacker’s charming chapter book for young readers is very much a contemporary, urban mining of Ramona Quimby ore. (In one scene, hoping to be kept home sick from school, Clementine tells her mother she’s suffering from “the heartbreak of sore irises.”) Booklist’s starred review concludes, “A delightful addition to any beginning chapter-book collection.”
Especially refreshing is the urban setting—Clementine’s father is the superintendent of a large apartment building with a pigeon problem—which presents Clementine with a variety of challenges to navigate each day. Frazee’s pen-and-ink sketches, like the one depicting Clementine balancing on the edge of her kitchen sink to look out the basement window to look at the shoes of the people passing by, are accurate and funny, and perfectly capture the energy and attitude of the spunky and independent protagonist.
The children can discuss whether there was ever a time when they did something with the best intentions (like Clementine cutting off Margaret’s hair), but it didn’t end up well. What happened? What did they do about it? How did they feel about it?
Children can draw an illustration of their favorite scene from the book using markers like the ones Clementine’s mom likes to use.
Other beginning chapter books with feisty heroines:
Cleary, Beverly. RAMONA THE PEST. ISBN 0688217214
McDonald, Megan. JUDY MOODY. ISBN 0763612316
Park, Barbara. JUNIE B. JONES AND THE STUPID SMELLY BUS. ISBN 0679826424
Other beginning chapter books by Sara Pennypacker:
Pennypacker, Sara. STUART’S CAPE. ISBN 0439301815
Pennypacker, Sara. STUART GOES TO SCHOOL. ISBN 0439301831
By Julie Brinker