Review Blog

Oct 17 2012

Clementine Rose and the Surprise Visitor by Jacqueline Harvey

cover image

Clementine Rose series, no. 1. Random House Australia, 2012. 128 pages. ISBN 1742755410
(Ages: 7-10) Recommended. 5-year-old Clemmie is different to most young girls. She was delivered as a baby in the back of a mini-van in a basket of dinner rolls to Penberthy House, home of Lady Clarissa. A crumbling old mansion, Penberthy House is run by Lady Clarissa as a country hotel in order to keep the place in good repair. However the out of the way town of Penberthy Floss is not exactly on the tourist trail so it is lucky that Lady Clarissa has a special knack with winning nearly every competition she enters. As soon as Lady Clarissa laid eyes on the baby Clementine Rose she knew that she belonged at Penberthy House with her and the butler Uncle Digby. So sets the scene for a new series set in this quaint little village with endearing characters with sweet dispositions and a crumbling mansion filled with love, warmth and charm.
This first instalment in the series sees a surprise visitor, Aunt Violet, arrive at Penberthy House. Clementine Rose has never met Aunt Violet but she can tell that Lady Clarissa doesn't like her very much. Even more strangely Aunt Violet doesn't seem happy to be at Penberthy House at all. Clementine Rose soon realises that something fishy is going on. Why is Aunt Violet really here, and what is she carrying in her mysterious black bag?
The text is interspersed with very few pictures and the text on the pages is quite dense making it unsuitable for younger readers who may find the text too long and arduous. However the book could be a fantastic read aloud novel for younger girls who the character of 5-year-old Clemmie would appeal to. Even though Clementine Rose is 5-years-old the story will still appeal to children above this age who will appreciate the 'cuteness' of Clemmie and her sweet teacup pig named Lavender.
In the same vein as her fantastic Alice-Miranda series Jacqueline Harvey has created a character whose curiosity and sense of adventure can often get her into trouble and whose loveable traits will make her a favourite of young girls.
Nicole Smith-Forrest

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