Saturday, May 25, 2013

Clementine by Sara Pennypacker, Illustrated by Marla Frazee

Image from
Hyperion Books, 2006

Clementine is in second grade and even though everyone is always saying, “Clementine! Pay attention!” she knows that she’s one of the most observant people in the world. So while her teachers might think she’s daydreaming in class, Clementine is confident that her powers of observation will come in handy. Okay, fine, they don’t help on Monday. That’s the day that she’s sent to the principal’s office for cutting off all of Margaret’s hair. And they weren't really helpful on Tuesday (the day she cut all her hair off to match Margaret’s). But that’s just the beginning of the week for Clementine!

Written in first person from Clementine’s point of view, this humorous book is a great read aloud. Clementine is a spunky, one-of-a-kind heroine who takes charge of her own story. As with most 2nd graders, Clementine frets about friends, family, and school. Clementine’s worries, although manifested in her unique way, are universally relatable. She has a younger brother and she worries her parents love him more, especially since they didn’t name him after a fruit or even a vegetable. Her best friend Margaret tells her there is an “easy one” in every family and that must be Clementine’s brother. What if her parents decide to get rid of her? And what if Margaret doesn’t want to be her friend anymore? And what if Margaret’s mother, who isn’t as thankful as she should be about Margaret’s new haircut, never stops being mad at Clementine?

The chapters are short and episodic, making this a wonderful book for kids transitioning to chapter books. The many moods and movements of the sneaker-clad, red-haired Clementine are captured in the illustrations. Frazee black and white illustrations provide just enough visual interest and context to keep the attention of early chapter book readers without overshadowing the text.  

Watch Pennypacker read some of the book or listen to Jessica Almasy narrate the audiobook.

*Use this story for a book club discussion. Talk about Clementine's emotions and feelings. Ask the kids which part they liked best and why. Try some of the questions from the Talkin’ Bout Books parent child discussion guide created by Julie Moran.

*Clementine continues her adventures in six more Clementine books.
Clarice Bean series by Lauren Child
Just Grace by Charise Mericle Harper
Ruby Lu, Brave and True by Lenore Look, Illustrated by Anne Wilsdorf
Year of the Dog by Grace Lin

*Other chapter books by Pennypacker:

Age 6+ / Grade 1+


No comments:

Post a Comment