Clementine Rose and the Pet Day Disaster by Jacqueline Harvey, illustrated by J. Yi (Random House Australia)
PB RRP $12.95
Also available as an ebook
Reviewed by Marian McGuinness
Clementine Rose is five years old and ready to start kindergarten with her friends, Poppy and Sophie, after all, she’s been wearing her new school uniform for weeks.
This is the second book in the darling new series by bestselling author Jacqueline Harvey. There is nothing pretentious or spoilt about the main character, Clemmie. She is wide-eyed and bright as a button.
In this adventure, Clemmie encounters several hurdles on her first day at school. First of all, she doesn’t have the sweet Miss Critchley as her teacher. Instead, she has Mrs Bottomley, ‘a short woman wearing a drab brown check jacket and matching skirt’ with a ‘helmet of brown curls perched on top of her head.’
Author, Jacqueline Harvey, puts well to play her experience as a teacher of young girls, just as she does in her other delightful series, Alice-Miranda. She’s spot on with description and emotions and draws you into the humour of everyday situations that young kindergartens experience.
It’s not all plain sailing for Clemmie as the boys tease her about her name. They play tricks on her and wipe snot on her uniform. One poor girl has an ‘accident’ and the boys call her ‘piddle pants.’ Clemmie realises another disappointing thing – she is not going to learn to read in an afternoon, as she thought she would.
The worst boy in the class is Mrs Bottomley’s grandson! It’s all too much and Clemmie decides she’s not going back to school. After a trip to the doctor for a wobbly tummy, Clemmie is back in class and her spirits are lifted as the principal, Miss Critchley announces that the school is having a Pet Day.
You can imagine what happens when children and an assortment of bizarre pets come together. There’s mayhem, but out of the fun, comes first prize in the dress-up competition for Clemmie’s pet, Lavender, the teacup pig dressed in a ‘tutu and ballet slippers’.
Many of the characters from Book 1 are interwoven in this second book. There’s Digby Pertwhistle, the butler and crusty, mean-looking Great Aunt Violet and her sphynx cat, Pharaoh (who together take out the prize for Pet Most Like its Owner).
The tone throughout is conversational, and often as a reader, you can hear Clemmie’s thoughts, which for young readers would be reassuring, knowing that they are not alone when it comes to little things going wrong at school. Each chapter is graced with a black and white illustration and a handy Cast of Characters is included at the back of the book.
Perfect for 6-9 year old girls, Clementine Rose will become a favourite friend. Her next exciting adventure is coming out soon, Clementine Rose and the Perfect Present. We can only wonder what it could be!