Book Talk Tuesday: Clementine by Sara Pennypacker

Some books are timeless, they can be enjoyed by almost any age and at any time.  Charlotte's Web by E.B. White, the Ramona Quimby books by Beverly Cleary, Judy Blume's Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, Lloyd Alexander's Prydain Chronicles, and Lois Lowry's Gooney Bird Greene books, all feel very timeless to me.  I could sit down in twenty years and still enjoy them as much as do now.  Sara Pennypacker's Clementine series feels that way to me.  Whenever I need a good laugh, I pull out these books.  When I heard the fifth book was out, I rushed to get my hands on it.

Clementine and the Family Meeting
written by Sara Pennypacker, illustrated by Marla Frazee
Disney-Hyperion Books, 2011
ISBN: 978-142312356-9
Grades 2-4
Reviewed from purchased copy.

Clementine's having a nervous breakdown. The FAMILY MEETING! sign is up in her house, and she just knows she's in trouble for something. Has she been too mean to her little brother? Too sloppy? Eating too much junk food? Try as she might to find out what's on the agenda, her parents won't reveal anything before the meeting. As far as Clementine is concerned, the agenda should be something like: "We're getting a gorilla." But no, it's something entirely different. "We're talking about a new baby," says her father. "A brother or sister for you two. What do you think about that?" NO THANKS! is what Clementine thinks. After all, four is the perfect number for a family. There are four sides to a table, not five. Will Clementine learn to make room for one more?
One of the things that I enjoy most about the Clementine books is the fact that Clementine seems so real, just like the kids I work with every day.  She has her strengths (very observant, kind heart, willing to work) and her weaknesses (fidgety, impulsive).  She has good days and bad days just like every child does.  She has problems at school (missing science project rat) and at home (adjusting to a baby on the way).  But Clementine's family and friends are interesting characters as well and are more than just secondary characters.

The writing is superb and very suitable for a third grader, I can here her voice in my head even when I am not reading the book.  The illustrations by Caldecott Honor winning Marla Frazee provide the perfect compliment to the writing. Overall, a great addition to the series and I highly recommend the whole series.

The other books in the series are:
The Talented Clementine
Clementine's Letter
Clementine, Friend of the Week

Head on over to The Lemme Library for today's Book Talk Tuesday.


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