by Sara Pennypacker, illus. by Marla Frazee
Clementine’s Monday looks promising: First, there were exactly enough banana slices in her cereal, “one for every spoonful.” Then, when she got to school, Clementine’s third-grade teacher excused her from journal writing so she could go to the art room and work on her “Welcome to the Future” project. But from there things went swiftly downhill. Margaret, a fourth-grader gets glue in her hair and starts to snip it off in the girls’ bathroom, and when Clementine enters and sees the weepy-eyed girl, she offers to help. But when the art teacher enters the bathroom, “Margaret [goes] all historical, and the art teacher [goes] all historical,” and before she knows it, Clementine winds up in the principal’s office. And that’s just the first day of Clementine’s “not so good of a week.” Self-reliant Clementine is immediately likable and has a way of finding the humor in most situations. When she makes a portrait of the now short-haired Margaret and shows it to her, Margaret says, “I look like a dandelion!” And Clementine responds, “Dandelions are beautiful.” Attempting to cheer up Margaret, Clementine uses markers to help color in her hair and, when that fails to do the trick, Clementine cuts her own hair to keep Margaret company. Here’s a heroine whose heart is in the right place, and whose sense of humor will continue to win her many fans. Marla Frazee’s artwork only heightens the comedy.