Clementine loves to pay attention. She pays attention to everything. In fact, she is the first to point out, she is the only person who ever really pays attention at all, despite what her teachers have to say. Alright, so maybe she’s paying attention to something other than the blackboard or the book she’s supposed to be reading, but how else is she supposed to learn useful information that the teachers might forget to tell her?
Clementine is instantly loveable, and is sure to be a classic series for years and generations to come. She’s a sweet character, for all of her faults. In many ways she brings to mind Ramona, or even Anne of Green Gables, in that she is never trying to be bad. In the first book, almost every time she gets into major trouble it’s because she is trying to help out a friend. There are lots of books that feature young characters being mischievous simply for the sake of troublemaking. It’s refreshing to see a character whose heart is always in the right place, even if she doesn’t always stop to think through the consequences of her actions.
The first three books about her are already very popular. It can be difficult to locate good books for the early chapter book reading range, and Clementine certainly fits the bill. In addition to the excellent writing, the illustrations by Marla Frazee are absolutely perfect.
Cover notes: Author Sara Pennypacker is no doubt thanking her lucky stars that she was paired with illustrator Marla Frazee. The cover of this book is wonderful: it’s immediately engaging, and also gives a great indication of Clementine’s general personality. I haven’t met a kid yet that didn’t pick this book up after glancing at the cover.