Sunday, August 24, 2008

Clementine's Letter by Sara Pennypacker

All we’ve come to love about Clementine is back in Clementine’s Letter. Her visits with Mrs. Rice, her vegetable-named brother, her awesome cool parents, and her creative imagination that produces ideas faster than her logical brain can filter them. But it wasn’t until this book that Sara Pennypacker showed readers the size of Clementine’s heart.

When her teacher, Mr. D’Matz, is named a finalist in the Adventures for Teachers program, Clementine shows how much she cares for her teacher…by trying to prevent him from winning. Then he won’t have to leave and thereby break his promise to be their teacher, and she won’t lose him.

Clementine helps her father start his book, The Building Manager. She keeps his writing on track when he strays off with something about “extremely handsome” and “the strength of ten oxen.” When her impulsive actions appear in the plot line, the focus of her father’s book moves from handsome building manager to love, apology, and forgiveness.

Clementine, thanks to another imaginative yet unfiltered idea, gives her mom a gift so wonderfully cool that Mom makes that ‘Wow! I must be dreaming!’ face and can’t finish her sentences.

Clementine helps Margaret and Mitchell deal with the disappointment of their father’s cancelled visit by finding them a substitute.

Clementine finds her brother some new vegetable names.

And in the end, baby-bird Clementine, after a gentle nudge from the nest by Mr. D’Matz, spreads her wings and does all she can to help him succeed.

(Now, that’d be a great place to stop, but I need to be sure everyone knows it’s still Clementine we’re talking about here. She names her brother Bok Choy and Bamboo Shoots. She plays Beat the Clock in class. She confesses her love of bricks. She reminds readers that when she has a boyfriend, which will be never, he will be like Mitchell. She writes reminders on her arms. See? Same old Clementine! It’s just that now we know she has an XXL heart inside her S body.)


  1. I have just found the Clementine books this year-2nd year teaching 6th grade. She is a fabulous character! And don't forget that she doesn't care too much for "pointy " things!!!!

    I had just looked up this series on my account to see if there were more than what I had read, and YES-thank goodness- there are! I have 2 more that I need to buy now!!


  2. Ah, yes. Pointy things. And of course the solution to thinking about pointy things is to head to the kitchen, home of countless wonderful round things.

    Like bologna glasses.

    I just finished reading the first book to my class, and they loved it. There are now several orange covers floating around the classroom. So much fun.


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