cover image Clarice Bean, That's Me

Clarice Bean, That's Me

Lauren Child, Lauren Child. Candlewick Press (MA), $16.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-7636-0961-0

There is a trace of Eloise's voice in the cadence of Clarice's unfettered, stream-of-consciousness narrative, but her home is definitely not the Plaza. Forced to share a room with her younger brother, Minal Cricket, Clarice boldly--and occasionally outrageously--exposes the family dynamics: ""Sometimes I say, I haven't got time for all your nonsense. And he says, TWIT. And I say, Twit and a half. And he says, Twit with carrots in your ears. And then I flick his nose with my ruler, And he says, MOOOM, in this really whiny brother way."" Later, after Clarice dumps a bowl of spaghetti on her brother's head, her mother advises her to think before she acts, and this young queen of the quick comeback responds, ""And she's right. If I'd thought about it I would have put tapioca down his shorts."" Graphically, these collage-like pages are as busy and spontaneous as Child's (I Want a Pet) exuberant, self-assured heroine. Stylized, childlike drawings appear against backdrops of flowered wallpaper, linoleum tile and photographs, while the text's fonts change as quickly and randomly as the amusingly opinionated Clarice's thoughts. Bright and brassy, this youngster will win over readers in a split second and will leave them hoping for more of her trials and tribulations. Ages 6-10. (Sept.)