Review Blog

Jun 14 2013

Clementine Rose series by Jacqueline Harvey

cover image

Random House, Australia 2013. Pbk, 128pp, RRP $A12.95.
Clementine Rose and the perfect present. ISBN 9781742755458.
Clementine Rose and the Pet Day disaster. ISBN 9781742755434.
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.
Barbara Braxton

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