Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Clarice Bean, Don't Look Now, by Lauren Child

I'll tell you what I like about Clarice Bean books: they deal with an "issue," but without saying, "Here's the topic we're dealing with." You know what I mean? I hated "issue" books when I was a kid; can't a story just tell a story without being "about" something, like divorce, popularity, or bullying?

In this book, Clarice Bean's best friend Betty moves, and Clarice experiences a mild depression (without ever saying, "And I was depressed"). Eventually things begin to work out for her again, slowly, and not completely.

My daughter tends to read these books on her own, but then ask me to read them with her to make sure she's not missing out on anything. (For instance the other day I had reason to explain the bathroom euphemisms "Number 1" and "Number 2" to her, and she said, "Oh, that was in a book I read and I didn't know what it meant.") The only complaint I have about Clarice Bean books is that she works a lot of stuff out without ever telling her parents. It's not like they find out after the fact; they never find out. I don't want my daughter to think the correct thing to do with a stressful life situation is to keep it to herself.

As with the other Clarice Bean books we've read, at the end my daughter wanted me to check the progress of the Ruby Redfort books Lauren Child is supposedly writing. Well, this time there was good news! The first book is supposed to come this fall. My daughter is eagerly anticipating it, and I bet I will get to read it aloud.

Rating: six out of seven giant inflatable monkeys.

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