Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Clementine and the Family Meeting, by Sara Pennypacker (ages 7 - 10)

Our 2nd and 3rd graders love reading series, especially when they can connect to the main characters. One of their favorite series is the Clementine series by Sara Pennypacker, and the newest Clementine book will surely delight readers new and old. This also makes a great series for families looking to read aloud their first chapter books to 4 and 5 year olds. In my mind, Clementine is a little bit of Ramona and a little bit of Junie B. Jones, but a whole lot of her own person.
Clementine and the Family Meeting
by Sara Pennypacker
illustrated by Marla Frazee
NY: Disney / Hyperion Books, 2011
ages 7 - 10
available at your local library, favorite bookstore or on Amazon

nominated for the 2011 Cybils early chapter book award
Clementine is sure she’s in trouble again - why else would the “family meeting” sign be posted? No matter how much she begs, her mom just won’t tell her what the meeting is about. Clementine is used to family meetings where she has to think about being nicer to her little brother, being better behaved, trying harder. But nothing prepares her for the news at this family meeting: a new baby is on the way. Clementine is not taking the news well. Their family of four suits her just fine.
"Four can be two and two sometimes, and nobody is lonely. Two kids and two grown-ups. Two boys and two girls. There are four sides to the kitchen table, so we each get one." 
Change is hard, and Pennypacker captures this pitch-perfectly in the 5th installment of this popular series for readers new to chapter books. Even Clementine’s best friend Margaret is changing in crazy ways. Having just returned from visiting her father in Hollywood, Margaret is now obsessed with makeup. Clementine’s special relationship with her father is particularly touching in this story. He knows how to comfort her, joke with her and make her feel understood.

Pennypacker, with Frazee’s line drawings, continues to portray a warm, supportive family that readers will relate to. Fans will be excited to learn that Pennypacker is publishing her first standalone novel since the Clementine series this spring: Betsy Bird reports that HarperCollins is publishing Summer of the Gypsy Moths - read more here at Fuse #8's Harper Colling Spring 2012 preview.

For other reviews of Clementine and the Family Meeting, see:
The review copy came from the Association of Children's Librarians, my local review group. It was kindly sent by Disney / Hyperion Books. If you make a purchase using the Amazon links on this site, a small portion goes to Great Kid Books (at no cost to you!). Thank you for your support.

Review ©2011 Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books.


  1. I just bought this in hardcover from Scholastic and will be reading it over winter break. I have fallen in love with Clementine (and Clarice Bean). :)


  2. This is the best one of the series. I love how Pennypacker keeps growing/deepening her characters.

  3. I agree with you completely that Clementine has portions of Ramona and Junie B. Jones! I thought it was a charming book!