The Talented Clementine

by Sarah Pennypacker
ages: 7-10
First sentence: “I have noticed that teachers get exciting confused with boring a lot.”

Clementine’s school is having a fundraiser for the big spring trip. All the grades are pairing up to do something (car wash, bake sale), and the third and fourth grades are having… a talent show (“Talent-Palooza, Night of the Stars!”). Which is all fine and good, except Clementine doesn’t have a talent. Can’t sing. Can’t dance. Can’t even hop. (Has problems sitting on occasion.) So, in her own unique and hilarious way, she sets about trying to find a talent to share for the show, from begging her friend Margaret — who has talents to spare — to borrow a talent from her (in which she glues beer bottle caps — the bottles were full — to the bottom of her sneakers) to attempting to create her own talent (in which she puts a leash on her baby brother, whose name she keeps changing to different vegetables, in order to have a trained dog). Of course none of these work, and as the date for the talent show creeps closer, the stress (for Clementine, as well as for the reader) mounts. Will she be able to find a talent for the show in the end? Of course. And it’s pretty impressive — and very Clementine-ish — and quite delightful what she comes up with in the end.

Buy it at: Amazon, Powell’s or your local independent bookstore.

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