Thursday, March 12, 2015

MIDDLE GRADE REVIEW: Completely Clementine by Sara Pennypacker


Summer is coming, and Clementine is not ready. She is not ready to start speaking to her father again, because she’s still mad at him for eating meat. Instead, she has to express her sadness by giving him drawings of animals she knows would not want to be somebody’s dinner. 

Then there is the new baby on the way. Clementine’s mom sure doesn't seem ready. She’s suddenly crazy about cleaning (Dad says she is nesting), but she doesn't even have a name picked out yet. Clementine just hopes the baby won’t be a dud.

What Clementine really isn't ready for is saying good-bye to her third grade teacher. She knows Mr. D’Matz is going to tell her all kinds of things that aren't true. Everything else may be changing around her, but that doesn't mean that Clementine has.

But which is worse, saying good-bye, or not saying good-bye?


I'm so sad that this is the last book in the series! I love Clementine, she's such a delightful character with all her idiosyncrasies. Clementine is reluctant to say goodbye to her third grade teacher and so avoids it like the plague.  At the same time she juggles her anger at her father, her confusion with her mother's odd 'nesting' behavior, and her friend, Margaret's mother's wedding plans.  

Clementine is her usual charming self coming up with words like astoundishing to express herself and determined to not speak to her father until he agrees to stop eating meat.  She's busy making a gift for Margaret's soon-to-be stepfather, drawing pictures of sad animals for her father, and coming up with names for her coming new sibling.

I absolutely adore the relationships that Clementine has with her friends and family.  They are far from perfect but it's clear that they love each other despite disagreements and flaws.  The interactions between Clementine and her parents are especially endearing and her calling her brother by different vegetable names made me snicker.  It's clear that despite her difficulties, Clementine will be just fine with her own enthusiastic spirit and her loving family to help her along the way.

Marla Frazee's wonderful illustrations once again give additional life to Clementine's feelings and antics.  This series is everything that contemporary middle grade literature should be.

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