Monday, June 28, 2010

Clarice Bean Spells Trouble, by Lauren Child

I didn't enjoy this one as much as the first. The Ruby Redfort plot device switched out books for movies, and they don't seem to be doing anything but entertaining Clarice. At least in the first book they were showing the contrast between fantasy and reality. Also, this book felt a bit after-school-special-ish to me, as Karl Renbury deals with his abandonment by his father. And although Clarice does an admirable thing in taking the blame for something Karl has done, the truth is never discovered and talked about; it's just assumed by all adults involved that Clarice's lie is true and Clarice moves on with her life. Maybe there could have at least been a discussion of the ambiguous nature of truth. That might be too much to ask from a kids' book, but I don't think so. If you're going to introduce the topic, at least hit all the high points a kid should hear about.

Rating: four and a half out of seven giant inflatable monkeys.

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