Utterly Me, Clarice Bean

By Lauren Child
Publisher:Candlewick, (3/3/2005)

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"Fans of Child's irrepressible, impulsive picture-book heroine — as well as kids who have not yet had the pleasure of making her acquaintance — will devour her first chapter-book adventure." —PUBLISHERS WEEKLY

It's not easy to concentrate at school when mysterious things are happening all around you. In fact, Clarice Bean is starting to feel just like her favorite heroine: Ruby Redfort, schoolgirl detective. Clarice and her utterly best friend, Betty Moody, are planning to ace their book project about Ruby and win the class prize, until Betty disappears into thin air, and horrible teacher Mrs. Wilberton teams Clarice up with the naughtiest boy in school. Will her new partner ruin everything? Will Betty ever come back? And what on earth happened to the silver trophy everyone's hoping to win? Lauren Child brings her trademark wacky wit and eccentric visual energy to a full-length, fastpaced Clarice Bean episode that will charm even the most capricious reader.
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"Utterly Me, Clarice Bean"
By Lauren Child

Average Rating:

This book has not been rated

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From School Library Journal

Grade 1-5-Fans of this irrepressible picture-book character will appreciate this expanded episode for chapter-book readers. Clarice and her best friend are collaborating on a project for school, showing what they have learned from a series of books about their favorite girl detective. When Betty fails to return to school, their teacher pairs Clarice with the worst boy in the class. As they work together on the assignment, she realizes that Karl has really good ideas and isn't such a bad guy. When Betty comes back (from having been whisked off to Russia with her parents), she feels left out. But then Karl is accused of stealing a trophy cup, Clarice turns detective, and the girls patch up their friendship. These amusing characters speak in a delightful, childlike language. Many passages are done in type that playfully swoops over the pages, as when the protagonist is describing a swimming and diving experience. Stylized, mixed-media illustrations appear throughout. For those who can't get enough of Junie B. Jones, Clarice Bean is an utterly entertaining alternative.
JoAnn Jonas, Chula Vista Public Library, San Diego, CA
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Booklist

Gr. 2-5. The intrepid heroine of three previous picture books makes her debut in full-length fiction. This time Clarice is having trouble with her obstreperous family, an irritating teacher, and a best friend who suddenly disappears. She draws solace from reading about girl-detective Ruby Redfort, who leads what Clarice considers a perfect life and inspires Clarice to use her own investigative skills to make some sense of her family, help out a classmate wrongly accused of stealing, and repair a misunderstanding with best friend Betty Moody. A funny, appealing individual who owns up to her shortcomings and tries her best, even if she doesn't always succeed, Clarice is an exceptionally strong character, and her story, delivered in deadpan, forthright prose, perfectly captures a child's voice in a way that will elicit laughter even from the grumpy. The frequent black line illustrations (some worked into the text) and the experimentation with word size and placement on the page are great carryovers from the picture books. A perfect choice for reading aloud or for newly independent chapter-book readers, this will utterly captivate a wide audience. Kay Weisman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.


"Will win over readers in a second" Publishers Weekly "Lauren Child is so good, it's exhilarating" The Independent --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

This is me, Clarice Bean.

I am not an only child, but I sometimes wish I was.

My family is six people, which is sometimes 

too many. Not always, just sometimes.

My dad is mostly in an office on the phone, going, "I can't talk now — I'm up to my ears in it."

Mom is always gribbling about pants on the floor and shoes on the sofa. She says, "This house doesn't clean itself, you know. 

"Who do you think does everything around here? 

"Mr. Nobody? 

"I don't get paid to pick up your smelly socks! If I did, I'd be a rich woman." etc. etc. non stop. 

I am the third oldest, and I think it would have been a good idea if I was the youngest, too. I am not quite sure why my mom and dad wanted to have more children after me. They don't need another one and it's a shame because he is spoiling it for everyone else. He is called Minal Cricket and he tends to be utterly a nuisance. He is nonstop whining and causing other people to get themselves in trouble.

You might think it would be a relief to come to school, but if you do, then obviously you don't know some of the people in my class. Naming no names, i.e., Grace Grapello, what a showoff.

Sometimes I stare boredly into space, thinking utterly of nothing. This makes Mrs. Wilberton very irritated. I get on her nerves. I know this because she is always telling me I do.

To be honest, Mrs. Wilberton is not my favorite person on the planet of Earth. Unfortunately, I am from Earth and she is my teacher.
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Lauren Child says that she does a lot of staring into space, which is how she thought up the character of Clarice Bean, now the spunky subject of four illustrated books. When Lauren Child was younger, she liked watching cartoons and overhearing conversations, and her ambition was to wear sunglasses on top of her head. She still likes to watch cartoons and overhear conversations, and she claims to have achieved her ambition. Lauren Child has written and illustrated numerous other books, including I WILL NEVER NOT EVER EAT A TOMATO, which won the Kate Greenaway Medal. The author-illustrator lives and works in London, England.

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