From Barbara Braxton
Subject: [OZTL_NET] REVIEW: Clementine Rose (series)
Clementine Rose and the Perfect Present 9781742755458
Clementine Rose and the Pet Day Disaster 9781742755434
Random House, Australia 2013
pbk., 128pp., RRP $A12.95
Clementine Rose was delivered not in the usual way, at a hospital, but in the
back of a mini-van, in a basket of dinner rolls when the village baker, Pierre
Rousseau made his regular delivery to Penberthy House, once a stately English
home but now a run-down private home. There was no sign of a mother or father,
just an envelope addressed to Lady Clarissa Appleby, the current owner of the
ancestral home giving her the baby to look after.
Here are the next two adventures in this series about this fun-loving five
year-old designed for the newly-independent reader who is looking for a
recognisable character and the support of short chapters, an easy-to-read style
with a splash of humour and cute illustrations that add a richness to the story.
In Clementine Rose and the Pet Day Disaster, Clementine is very excited because
she is about to start school. Her best friends Sophie and Poppy are also
starting, she has everything ready well before time and she’s really looking
forward to being taught by kind, loving Miss Critchley who is sure to teach her
how to read on the very first day. But things don’t quite work out that way.
Her teacher is the stern, austere, Mrs Ethel Bottomley, making the butterflies
in Clementine’s tummy feel like they were having a boxing match, because Mrs
Bottomley is very no-nonsense, telling these new kindergarten students that
“It’s time to shake off the playful habits of youth and start some serious
study.” There will be time for fun, but it will be orderly fun. When Clementine
refuses to leave her mother and line up, Mrs Bottomley asks if she is going to
join them, “Or is she having a bit of a sook?” NOT the best way to encourage a
loving relationship. Finally coaxed into class, to her dismay the children are
seated in alphabetical order and Clementine is not with Sophie and Poppy, but
next to the obnoxious Angus. Her day is certainly not going as planned, she
doesn’t learn to read and what’s more she’s expected to go back tomorrow! But
not if she can help it, and with a little help from Dr Everingham. It is only
the announcement of a pet day and the chance to show off her teacup pig Lavender
that entices her through the doors again but the title IS ‘Pet Day Disaster’ so
don’t expect everything to flow smoothly.
In Clementine Rose and the Perfect Present there is much excitement at Penberthy
House for there is to be a wedding, an event which will help pay some bills and
perhaps some to go for the much-needed new roof. But of course, nothing goes to
plan and when Aunt Violet is put in charge, then things are going to go downhill
even faster. And what do you do when you’re five, your uncle is sick and you
want to give him a present but no one has time to take you to the village shop,
yet you’re surrounded by piles of beautifully wrapped presents?
Even though she is only five and the readers of this series will be slightly
older, there is still something very likeable about Clementine that appeals
anyway. Perhaps the reader sees herself as the big sister, or maybe remember
similar sorts of things that happened to them – whatever it is, the first two in
this series were a hit with my younger readers and they are going to be thrilled
when I offer them a couple more, with the promise of even more to come.
Both books are also available as ebooks.
M.Ed.(TL), M.App.Sci.(TL), M.I.S. (Children’s Services)