Tuesday, July 17, 2007

The Talented Clementine

The Talented Clementine
By Sara Pennypacker
Illustrated by Marla Frazee

This is a fantastic follow up to Clementine, a warm-hearted, fuzzy feelings, story that celebrates the heart of a third grade artist.

Though the book has been published and is actually in our library the copy I read was an ARC. I got to do something with this book that I’ve been longing for: share a chapter book with my nieces. They are 5 and 7 and while the 5 year old regularly sits and listens to chapter books the 7 year old (let's call her Ginny, because she adores Harry)is much more active and rarely sits for long. For Clementine however, they both sat for two or three chapters at a time, and then begged for more.

Having read the first book first adds understanding to the story, like why Margaret’s hair is short, but The Talented Clementine stands on its own quite well. The titular character remains spunky and charming during her search to find a talent she can perform for the third and fourth grades’ Talent-Palooza.* It’s not the choosing that is difficult for Clementine, it is the un-choosing, in everything but the talent arena. Clementine is not unaware of her many talents, but she does realize that none of them are quite stage-appropriate. Finally a girl who knows what she is good at, without being laughably conceited!

Never formulaic, at least not yet, Clementine’s adventures don’t turn out like you might expect. And I’m still wishing I was half as creative as Clementine.

A note on the art: Wonderful as usual. Ginny enjoyed the art, at least what was present in the galley, nearly as much as I did.

* My niece asked “What does palooza mean?”

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