CHRISTMAS MIDDLE GRADE NOVEL: Clarice Bean - Think Like an Elf by Lauren Child



Join the one and only Clarice Bean and ‘Think Like an Elf’ in this irresistible and spectacularly sparkling Christmas story from the inimitable Lauren Child. Clarice Bean usually looks forward to Christmas. Except this year it is going to be a quiet-ish Christmas in her house, which doesn’t feel right because Christmas is all about noisiness and being full up and FAMILY. And without those things, she is going to have to try exceptionordinarily hard to stop the Christmas spirit completely floating away…But luckily, there is no one in the world like Clarice Bean – and she is going to THINK LIKE AN ELF, and that means everything will be A-OKAY. Won’t it? The one and only Clarice Bean is back to save her family’s Christmas in this sparkling story of joy, goodwill to all peoplekind, and some very Clarice catastrophes, perfect for sharing with all the family! Wrap yourself in the warmth and wit of former Children’s Laureate Lauren Child and be transported by the love and laughter that is Christmas with the utterly irreplaceable Clarice Bean. “We can’t get enough Clarice Bean.” The Sunday Times


Clarice Bean reminds me of some of my favorite realistic fiction characters such as Judy Moody, Junie B. Jones, or my favorite, Clementine by Sara Pennypacker.  She's lively, hopeful, and eager to bring the Christmas spirit to life for her family and friends. Clarice Bean's voice is delightful to read as she informs the reader about herself, her family, and the inevitable mishaps that occur. The voice reads so much like a child it's amazing. The way Lauren Child's books combines a variety of text sizes with Child's unique artwork makes for a thoroughly enjoyable reading experience. All together the design of the text combined with the words used (including some made up nonsensical words), left me feeling like I could here Clarice's voice in my head. The story itself is made up of many humorous moments as Clarice tries to make up for her families' lack of Christmas cheer. She writes and delivers cards to the neighbors, even those who don't want them. She practices singing for the upcoming concert and tries to help out at home. But mixing up packages, losing the turkey to the dog, and fudge that has to be broken with a hammer provide plenty of stress for Clarice and her family. There is a general British feel to the story (unsurprising as the author/illustrator is British), but young readers will figure things out pretty easily. Overall, a delightful read with a strong voice for young readers who enjoy a rollicking tale of friendship, good intentions, and Christmas mayhem.


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