Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Clementine, Friend of the Week

Pennypacker, Sara. 2010. Clementine, Friend of the Week.  Read by Jessica Almasy. Recorded Books.
(about 2 hours - also available on Playaway)

A while back I was complaining about a lack of good audiobooks in the early chapter book field.  Helpful librarian, Jana, suggested that I might enjoy Clementine, narrated by Jessica Almasy. She was right!  I borrowed the newest Clementine book on CD, Friend of the Week, from my library. (It wasn't available in my preferred form as a digital download from my library's consortium). This was my first encounter with the irrepressible Clementine.

In Friend of the Week, Clementine is fearful that her friends might not write nice things in the memory book that she will receive at school for her turn as "Friend of the Week."  Adding to the week's drama is a fight with her best friend Margaret and a missing cat, her kitten, Moisturizer.  With plenty of inspired ideas, Clementine has a solution for everything - she hopes!

Third-grader Clementine is a delightful character with depth.  She isn't the brightest child in school and sometimes finds herself in trouble, but she's kind and positive and funny too - just the type of girl one would like for a friend.   Her parents' characters are also well-developed, and it's refreshing that they are an agreeable, caring couple - with always enough time to spare for Clementine, in spite of the fact that her father is a busy apartment building manager and her mother has the three-year-old "green bean," to look after as well!  (Clementine feels that since she was named after a fruit, she has license to call her brother by any number of vegetable names - turnip, broccoli, even mung bean!)

Jessica Almasay's narration is perfect for the cheerful Clementine.  She has an infectious quality to her voice that makes Clementine's character immediately likable.  Her boys' voices are soft and monotone, much like a typical young boy's tone when confronted with questions from a spunky girl of his own age.  She switches easily in and out of character; and the story moves along in an upbeat and seamless manner.

Highly recommended.  Thanks for the tip, Jana. 
Listen to a sample here.

Next in the series: Clementine and the Family Meeting.

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  1. I just love Clementine! And Friend of the week isn't even my favorite. I highly recommend the other three.

  2. I’m a fan now, too! And I see that this book is a nominated title for ALSC’s Notable Children’s Recordings. http://www.alsc.ala.org/blog/?p=1938