Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Spunky Girls

Well, I didn't win the challenge. Sigh. Now I know what the standard of competition is-- y'all better watch out next year, is all I'm saying.

I liked the challenge of it though, so I'm having a self-challenge. Feel free to play along. The challenge is this:

Read all the books I have checked out and borrowed. Don't check out or borrow anymore books until the end of the challenge. Read a as-of-yet determined amount of books that I OWN. I currently have 19 books checked out and probably about 8 that are borrowed.

I buy books that I think I'll want to own. I can't help it. But, they often get waylaid because dude, the library books have to go back. So the books I wanted so much that I bought them languish on the shelves, unread. Time to change that.

But here are some library books:

Clementine by Sara Pennypacker

Clementine always pays attention, despite what her teacher says. She's just paying attention to what's going on outside the window.

Here we have heroine who is all heart, but doesn't always know how to show it. When perfect Margaret tries to cut glue out of her hair, all Clementine was trying to do was even it up. But then she's not allowed to play with Margaret anymore. Clementine knows Margaret's sad about having no more hair, so Clementine cuts all of her hair off, just to make her feel better. Why doesn't anyone understand this?

Marla Frazee's pen and ink illustrations make this story great, as does Clementine's pitch-perfect voice:

And then Margaret went all historical, and the art teacher went all historical, and nobody could think of anything to do except the regular thing, which is: send me to the principal's office.

Clementine is spunkier than Ramona and not as annoying as Junie B. Her voice is captured perfectly. It's hard not to fall in love with Clementine, which is why I squealed for joy when this came in:

The Talented Clementine by Sara Pennypaker

I think this one might be even more hilarious than the first one. The school is having a talent show, but there's just one problem-- Clementine doesn't have a talent.

I like this one partly because a lot of the adults that were flat characters in the first book (because, let's face it, in a kid's eye, most adults are flat characters) round out a bit more, especially the principal.

I really just want to cut and paste a bunch of quotations, or possibly the entire book, but you just read it yourself. I will leave you with this:

But he ignored me, which is called Getting on with the Day when a teacher does it, and Being Inconsiderate when a kid does it.

Moxy Maxwell Does Not Love Stuart Little by Peggy Gifford

I'm not entirely sure who is narrating this tale, but the breathless excitement that comes across in punctuation-less run-on sentences leads me to believe it is one of Moxy Maxwell's fellow 9-year-olds.

But that is not part of this story and will sidetrack us and we must move on if we're ever going to get to the darkness now descending on Moxy's horizon.

See, Moxy has a bit of a problem. She has been carrying around her copy of Stuart Little all summer so she can read it during her in-between times, but, see, she didn't have many of those this summer. So, here it is, the last day of summer vacation, and she hasn't read it yet. This is a problem because there will be a test on it tomorrow, the first day of school.

So Moxy is going to go straight up to her room and read the whole thing before the daisy routine water ballet tonight. But, of course, she should probably clean her room first. And then she needs some food, for energy. And then, because the day has been such an emotional roller coaster, she should probably lie down. And then, she has a fabulous, stupendous, near-genius idea that must be set into motion immediately.

Of course, when the best idea Moxy has had in her life leads to an drowned, exploding dahlia garden, can she find a way out? And will she ever read Stuart Little?

This is a funny look at a kid trying to get out of doing her summer reading assignment. Perhaps not quite as funny as Clementine, but still funny and will appeal to the same people. Another thing I want to draw attention to is that Moxy's twin brother, Mark has been studying photography over the summer and his photographic illustrations (really those of Valerie Fisher) add a lot to the tale.


Andi said...

What a fun bunch of books! I haven't read any of them, but I'm gonna try to get my hands on 'em.

Anonymous said...

Why, why, does our NoVa library not have The Talented Clementine in yet? (or So Totally Emily Ebers, for that matter?)

My son and I loved Clementine and want to read the sequel.

Jennie said...

andi-- they're lots of fun! I hope you enjoy them as much as I did.

genevieve-- that's so sad! I don't know where in NoVa you are, but my local NoVa library also doesn't have them! (Maybe it's the same system?) Luckily, I work in a lovely library on the other side of DC that has both of them. I haven't read So Totally Emily Ebers yet-- it's on my list, but I just read Millicent and need to still pick up Stanford Wong...