Completely Clementine

clementineby Sara Pennypacker
First sentence: “As soon as I woke up Monday morning, I flopped onto the floor with my drawing pad.”
Support your local independent bookstore: buy it there!
Review copy snagged from the ARC shelves at work.
Others in the series: Clementine, The Talented Clementine, Clementine’s Letter, Clementine, Friend of the Week, Clementine and the Family Meeting, Clementine and the Spring Trip (I thought I’ve read them all, but I guess I missed one!)
Content: It’s short, there’s lots of illustrations, and it’s perfect for beginning readers. You don’t have to read the series in order, but it does help a little.

I have a confession: this book came out in hardcover a year ago and I just couldn’t bring myself to read it. I couldn’t, not after eight years of loving Clementine, believe that it was coming to an end. So, I put it off. And put it off. But the paperback came out a bit ago, and I got brave and decided that maybe good things can come to an end.

Interestingly enough, that’s the theme of this last Clementine book. It’s the end of 3rd grade, and Clementine doesn’t want to move on. She doesn’t want to leave her teacher and move on to fourth grade. It’s all so new and scary. It also doesn’t help that she’s not talking to her father because she’s become concerned about animal rights and he won’t become vegetarian like her. Oh, and her mother is about to have another baby.

Pennypacker does with this one what she’s done in all the Clementine books: gives us a normal, every-day kid with a normal, every-day family and makes it super interesting. Clementine is such an affable character in all her normalness, that every kid can relate. Change is hard, and Pennypacker captures that resistance in Clementine. It’s charming, sweet, endearing, and cute. All the things I’ve come to expect from this series.

I’m just sad to see it end.

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