Clementine. Sara Pennypacker; Hyperion, 2006
Grade Level: 3-5
ISBN & Cost: 978-0786838820, $14.99
Blanket Permission to Reproduce Book Jackets:
Preferred wording: From CLEMENTINE by Sara Pennypacker. Illustrations by Marla Frazee. Copyright © 2006. Reprinted by permission of Hyperion Books for Children. All rights reserved.
Synopsis: Eight-year-old Clementine describes the hilarious antics of her daily life in her own unique voice. This light-hearted story includes worthwhile themes: thinking through the consequences of your actions, taking responsibility for mistakes, trying to make things right when you have wronged or upset someone, and loving someone for who they are, no matter their quirks or eccentricities.
Author Sara Pennypacker has created a delightful and mischievous character in Clementine. The writer’s well-voiced depiction of this quirky eight-year-old shows that Clementine is creative, artistic, good-hearted, and impulsive. Although Clementine means well, she does not always think through the consequences of her actions, which causes disastrous – and hilarious – results. You will alternately laugh and groan aloud as you witness Clementine’s ups and downs. This title garnered starred reviews from School Library Journal, Publisher’s Weekly, and Kirkus Reviews in addition to winning a number of best-book awards from various respected organizations and publications.
Themes: Friendship, family life, apartment houses, schools, humorous stories.
- Book Browse Biography: Sara Young (a/k/a Sara Pennypacker)
- Hyperion Books for Children: Sara Pennypacker bio
- Hyperion Books for Children: book, author, and illustrator info
Discussion Questions: (Standard 3, Benchmark 3)
- Read page 1 of the story aloud. What do we already know about Clementine from just one page of text? How does the author draw us into the story?
- If you were Margaret, would you still want to be friends with Clementine after the hair incident? Why or why not?
- Do you agree with how Clementine’s parents handled the incident with Margaret? Why or why not? What would you do differently?
- Is Clementine a good friend? Why or not? Cite examples from the story to back up your opinion.
- Everyone has coping mechanisms—things they do to make themselves feel better when something bad happens. What are Clementine’s coping mechanisms? What do you do to help yourself cope when something bad happens?
- If you got to spend an afternoon with Clementine, what would you want to do together?
- Read aloud a portion of the book. Practice reading it expressively and fluently. This story has such great voice that it lends itself well to oral reading. You could also act out a scene with a friend (like cutting Margaret’s hair in the school bathroom—just pretend!). (Standard 5, Benchmark 2)
- Clementine creates a special hat for Margaret that includes some of Margaret’s favorite things (pg. 114-116). Create your own hat that features your favorite things, or create a hat for a character from another book. Wear your hat and present it to the class, explaining each item on the hat and its significance. (Standard 5, Benchmark 3)
- Write a persuasive letter from Clementine to Margaret’s mother explaining why Clementine should still be able to spend time with Margaret. (Standard 3, Benchmark 4; Standard 9, Benchmark 1)
Similar Books for Further Reading
- Sequel: The Talented Clementine by Sara Pennypacker
- Junie B. Jones series by Barbara Park
- Ramona series by Beverly Cleary
- Gooney Bird Greene and Gooney Bird and the Room Mother by Lois Lowry
Ida B…and Her Plans to Maximize Fun, Avoid Disaster, and Possibly Save the World by Katherine Hannigan