Review: Clementine and the Family Meeting by Sara Pennypacker

clementine and the family meeting

Clementine and the Family Meeting by Sara Pennypacker, illustrated by Marla Frazee

This is the fifth book in the wonderful Clementine series.  In this book, Clementine is very worried because the Family Meeting sign is hung up at home.  She just knows that she has done something wrong again.  So she goes out of her way to demonstrate how kind she is to her little brother, how neat she can be, and how she eats healthy foods.  Clementine is surprised to find out that none of those things are on the agenda, instead their family will have a new addition.  And it’s not the gorilla that Clementine has been asking for.  It’s a new baby!  Clementine knows how she feels about that.  She is not happy at all.  How in the world will their family ever be able to change from the perfection of four people into the odd number of five?

Pennypacker writes Clementine with such a surety and steadiness that readers who have enjoyed the previous books will immediately feel at home between the covers.  Clementine’s family may be changing in numbers, but readers who enjoy the deft parenting, the clever comments, and Clementine herself will be thrilled to know that those things have not changed at all.  In this book, Clementine’s relationship with her younger brother is shown as one of the growth points.  She continues to call him by vegetable names, but their relationship changes and matures too.

Frazee continues to depict a warm and wonderful family that embraces the quirkiness of one another.  From the springing curls on Clementine’s head to the ferocious scowl she gets on her face, Clementine is a vivacious and wonderful character.  My favorite image from the book is where Clementine’s mother and brother are asleep together on the couch with all of his trucks parked around them.  Perfection.

Another stellar addition to the Clementine series.  This is one series that you will want to read in its entirety, because everyone needs a Clementine in their lives.  Appropriate for ages 7-10.

Reviewed from library copy.

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