I can’t remember where I first saw Sara Pennypacker’s Clementine, but it seemed like the sort of book my daughter might enjoy, so I checked it out for her and stuck it on her over-the-top-bunk bookshelf. (With, you know, the 15 or so other library books already there. Not to mention the ones she owns that are there, too.) It sat for quite a while as she read this and that, but after renewing it for the 3rd time (after which you have to return it and check it out again), I mentioned to my oldest that it was due at the library and she probably ought to pick that up next. She did–and she loved it–and I had a sudden realization that I didn’t know much about it myself. I knew enough to know it was age-appropriate, more or less, and the review I’d read made it sound cute, but I remembered my brush with Ivy + Bean, so I figured I’d take a look at it myself before returning it and getting the next book in the series.
(Incidentally, Ivy + Bean both looked and sounded cute, but when I flipped through it as a Christmas gift option last year, it seemed like one of the characters spent the entire book completely ignoring rules, with a serious scarcity of consequences. I realize a kid might not object to this, but if I’m going to buy a book for my daughter, it’s going to be one I think she’ll like AND that I want her to own. The kids in Ivy + Bean sounded obnoxious.)
Anyway. I did a read-through of Clementine the night before we took it back to the library, and it was HILARIOUS! The title character spends her time getting into, well, scrapes, but her intentions are good and she’s not just ignoring the rules because she doesn’t think they apply to her. (She’s often just making spectacularly bad decisions, in that way that children do.) She had red curly hair and wanted to be an artist and was completely lovable from the get-go. I recommend this one wholeheartedly!