I have had not so good of a week," begins the irrepressible narrator of this winning caper. Pennypacker (Stuart's Cape
) then takes readers straight through that week, making clear that Clementine has an unfailing nose for trouble and a comical way with words. The eight-year-old proclaims herself lucky because "spectacularful ideas are always sproinging up in my brain." One of these ideas concerns her fourth-grade friend and neighbor Margaret getting glue in her hair, and Clementine's attempt to help; together they cut off nearly all of Margaret's long locks. Further strategies involve the use of permanent markers and Clementine undergoing a sympathy coif. Frazee's black-and-white illustrations of the close-cropped gals captures the mixed emotions of their shared fate. Her portraits of the heroine's three-year-old brother, "who didn't get stuck with a fruit name," and whom Clementine calls by various vegetable names, including "Spinach," "Lima Bean" and "Pea Pod," may remind readers of the charming star of Frazee's Walk On!
Along with the humorous bits, Pennypacker seamlessly weaves into the narrative common third-grade themes, such as Clementine comparing Margaret's neatly dressed banker mother with her own overalls-clad artist mother, and envying Margaret her kitten from the litter of Clementine's own lately deceased cat, Polka Dottie. Luckily, Clementine ends her week on an up note. Fans of Judy Moody will welcome this portrait of another funny, independent third-grader. Ages 7-10. (Sept.)