Clementine's LetterTitle: The Talented Clementine
Author: Sara Pennypacker
Illustrator: Marla Frazee
ISBN: 9780786838844
Pages: 150 pages
Publisher: Hyperion Books for Children, c2008.

I looked over at my teacher. I waited for him to jump up and say, “Nope, sorry, Mrs. Rice. I can’t go away for the rest of the year because I promised to be here. I stood right in front of my students and said, ‘I will be your teacher this year.’ It’s still this year, so I have to stay and be their teacher. I won’t break my promise.”
But he didn’t do that. He just sat at his desk smiling at Mrs. Rice! (8-9)

Clementine has just found out that her teacher has been nominated by her principal to go on a archeological dig in Egypt to search for mummies. Which is great for her teacher, but not so great for Clementine. She’s just getting the hang of third grade, when the substitute shows up with a whole new set of unknown rules. She’s constantly getting in trouble, so when she and her classmates are encouraged to write a letter of support for her teacher, Clementine strikes upon a plan to get her teacher back in the classroom. You’ll have to read Sara Pennypacker’s newest book to see what Clementine’s Letter contains.

Clementine is simply irresistable. I’ve raved about this series already twice, and I’m not sure if there’s anything left to say about the writing. One of my favorite things about this series is that each book occurs in the span of a week. Although vague references are made to the previous two books, it’s not necessary to read them in order. For instance, when Clementine is organizing her mother’s art supplies, she comments “My mom looked at me for a minute, and I could see her thinking about the time I’d colored Margaret’s head with them.” (76) Pennypacker gets a little more series in this one, discussing issues regarding Margaret’s family and her feelings about her parents divorce and her mother’s boyfriend. But it’s handled sensatively, with Margaret coming to the conclusion that “I guess we both are […] just different kinds of lucky.” (105) We are very lucky to have Clementine.

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