Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Pennypacker, Sara. 2008. Clementine's Letter. Pictures by Marla Frazee.
I love Clementine. I do. And it is my hope that you'll be inspired to seek Clementine out on your own. This is her third adventure, the previous two are Clementine (2006) and The Talented Clementine (2007). "Our young heroine, Clementine is spunky and vibrant leaving a mark wherever she goes. Easily noticed by teachers and principals but not necessarily for the right reasons. But despite some behavior problems, Clementine remains a funny, lovable character....Clementine always has good intentions, but sometimes her plans backfire or have unforeseen-to-her consequences."
In Clementine's Letter, Clementine's character is challenged--or perhaps I should say tested--when her teacher, Mr. D'Matz, has the opportunity to win a research trip to Egypt. He may win which means he would be gone for the rest of the school year. The idea that Mr. D'Matz, her teacher, the only teacher who has ever understood her, could leave is upsetting. A substitute? Really? How could her favorite teacher ever be replaced by anyone else?
To say that Clementine has difficulty with the substitute teacher is an understatement! As this week--long week through the teacher's eyes I'm sure--drags along, Clementine gets in and out and in and out of trouble. When the class is given the assignment to write letters about their teachers for the judges, Clementine takes the opportunity to let it all loose. Sure that if she writes a scathing letter about how horrible he is, he'll not win the contest and be returned to the school where he belongs.
I love Clementine. I love her narration--whether at home, at school, or at play--it's a joy reading about her life.
Here's how the book starts off, "I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of...ouch! There is a lot of poking that goes on in third grade."
© Becky Laney of Young Readers