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Utterly Me, Clarice Bean


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About the Author

Lauren Child says that she does a lot of staring into space, which is how she thought up the character of Clarice Bean, now the spunky subject of four illustrated books. When Lauren Child was younger, she liked watching cartoons and overhearing conversations, and her ambition was to wear sunglasses on top of her head. She still likes to watch cartoons and overhear conversations, and she claims to have achieved her ambition. Lauren Child has written and illustrated numerous other books, including I WILL NEVER NOT EVER EAT A TOMATO, which won the Kate Greenaway Medal. The author-illustrator lives and works in London, England.


Gr 1-5-Fans of this irrepressible picture-book character will appreciate this expanded episode for chapter-book readers. Clarice and her best friend are collaborating on a project for school, showing what they have learned from a series of books about their favorite girl detective. When Betty fails to return to school, their teacher pairs Clarice with the worst boy in the class. As they work together on the assignment, she realizes that Karl has really good ideas and isn't such a bad guy. When Betty comes back (from having been whisked off to Russia with her parents), she feels left out. But then Karl is accused of stealing a trophy cup, Clarice turns detective, and the girls patch up their friendship. These amusing characters speak in a delightful, childlike language. Many passages are done in type that playfully swoops over the pages, as when the protagonist is describing a swimming and diving experience. Stylized, mixed-media illustrations appear throughout. For those who can't get enough of Junie B. Jones, Clarice Bean is an utterly entertaining alternative.-JoAnn Jonas, Chula Vista Public Library, San Diego, CA Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

Fans of Child's (Clarice Bean, That's Me; I Will Never Not Ever Eat a Tomato) irrepressible, impulsive picture-book heroineas well as kids who have not yet had the pleasure of making her acquaintancewill devour her first chapter-book adventure. Liberally illustrated with collage art and told in a breezy, spontaneous first-person narrative that often weaves and winds around the pages, this makes an excellent first book for newly independent readers. Clarice Bean generously sprinkles her narrative with the word "utterly" as she relays the goings-on at school (she is entertainingly acerbic when dissing her intolerant teacher: and her nemesis Grace Grapello, who is "too utterly horrible") and at home (where her grandfather is taking in canine lodgers and her older brother finally pays attention to his personal hygiene when he begins courting their sister's friend). But Clarice Bean is primarily preoccupied with the book she is reading, starring Ruby Redfort, an 11-year-old "secret agent, undercover detective, and mystery solver," excerpts from which appear throughout the story. Inspired by Ruby, Clarice eagerly dives into the role of sleuth when the trophy that she hopes to win in a school competition goes missing. A spirited cast of supporting players gives the tale additional buoyancy. Once again, Clarice Bean is utterly a charmer. Ages 8-11. (Sept.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

Clarice Bean is the more literate version of Junie B. Jones: sassy, slightly too confident of her abilities, winning in her no-nonsense view of the world.

A perfect choice for reading aloud or for newly independent chapter-book readers, this will utterly captivate a wide audience.

Fans of Child's irrepressible, impulsive picture-book heroine -- as well as kids who have not yet had the pleasure of making her acquaintance -- will devour her first chapter-book adventure. . . . Once again, Clarice Bean is utterly a charmer.
--Publishers Weekly

The flibbertigibbet, middle-child star of three picture books jumps to a more extended format without losing her exuberance, short attention span, or stream-of-consciousness style of narration.
--Kirkus Reviews

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