A FEW OTHER EVENTS FOR
- Happy birthday Byrd Baylor (Everybody Needs a Rock), Steven Lindblom (How to Build a Robot), and Doreen Cronin (Clack, Clack, Moo).
- On this day in 1930 the name of Turkeyâ€™s largest city, Constantinople, is officially changed to Istanbul, though it had been called Istanbul since 1453 when a conquering Ottoman sultan gave it the moniker based on a Greek Phrase meaning â€śthe city.â€ť Read Leyla: The Black Tulip by Alev Lytle Croutier, illustrated by Kazuhiko Sano.
- In 1941, writer Virginia Woolf fills her pockets with stones, walks into a river and drowns. Read Nurse Lugtonâ€™s Curtain by Virginia Woolf, illustrated by Julie Vivas.
March has been designated Exotic Winter Fruit Month and Leeks & Green Onions Month. When I think of winter fruit, my mind instantly conjures up one of the most engaging heroines developed in the past few years in childrenâ€™s booksâ€”a very fresh and cheeky third grader named Clementine. She also has a baby brother, and rather than call him by his real name, she always refers to him with the name of a vegetableâ€”spinach, broccoli, rutabaga, whatever comes to her mind.
The daughter of an artist, Clementine is a true independent spirit. She cuts off all her best friendâ€™s hairâ€”and then destroys her own as well. A cyclone, she spends more time in the principalâ€™s office than in her classroom. Everyone keeps telling her to â€śpay attentionâ€ť and she doesâ€”to all the things occurring outside the classroom window. But if you need someone with an out-of-the box idea, Clementine will come to the rescue. Through observation and ingenuity, she even manages to help her father win â€śThe Great Pigeon War,â€ť as he attempts to disperse the pigeons that befoul their apartment building.
Books for second- and third-grade readers are about as difficult to write successfully as any in the childrenâ€™s book arena. It is hard to craft a story out of the everyday events of childhood, keep the material within the reading and comprehension range of young children, and include enough action so that they will want to read the book. Hence we adore writers like Beverly Cleary and Judy Blume who can accomplish all these tasks in beautifully crafted books. For my money, Sara Pennypacker is a modern-day Cleary. She manages to make funny and compelling reading out of the trials of a third graderâ€”problems with friends, sibling rivalry, and a pet who has died. Readers laugh at Clementineâ€™s antics and misunderstandings as they get swept along in her first-person stream-of-conscious voice. As an added bonus, Marla Frazee adds energetic and drama-filled illustrations that perfectly round out Clementineâ€™s dilemmas.
So today letâ€™s celebrate a fresh fruitâ€”Clementine. Once children read one chapter in this series, they will clamor for all of these delightful books.
Hereâ€™s a section from Clementine:
Originally posted March 28, 2011. Updated for .