Clarice Bean, Don't Look Now

Clarice Bean, Don't Look Now

5.0 5
by Lauren Child
     
 

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Don’t look now, but Lauren Child has outdone herself with a Clarice Bean novel that is the funniest and most poignant yet.

It’s the worry you hadn’t even thought to worry about that should worry you the most. At least that’s how it looks to Clarice Bean, who has been writing her worries in a notebook — things like Worry no. 1&

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Overview

Don’t look now, but Lauren Child has outdone herself with a Clarice Bean novel that is the funniest and most poignant yet.

It’s the worry you hadn’t even thought to worry about that should worry you the most. At least that’s how it looks to Clarice Bean, who has been writing her worries in a notebook — things like Worry no. 1: infinity, or Worry no. 3: change. And now that her worst never-imagined worry has happened — her utterly best friend is moving away forever — Clarice doesn’t even care about her tickets to the Ruby Redfort, girl detective, movie premiere. That is, unless something happens to change things again. . . . Lauren Child’s trademark wit combines with spot-on insight in this hugely engaging story about childhood worries, unwanted changes, and finding friendships in the most surprising places.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Phyllis Kennemer
Clarice Bean is besieged with worries. She is in the midst of worrying about infinity and the meaning of life when her older sister forgets her running bath water, causing the ceiling above the living room to collapse. Now Clarice can worry about sitting on the toilet and looking into the dining room below. But she is prepared with her copy of Ruby Redfort's survival handbook about what do when worries come your way. Ruby advises that the biggest worry is the one you don't know in advance to think about. Sure enough, Clarice is bombarded with unexpected problems. Her parents' fighting has accelerated, and she is sure they are headed for divorce. Her best friend moves away, and Clarice refuses the friendly advances of her classmates. She sinks into depression, becoming an unhappy loner at school and an insomniac at home. Written in a style reminiscent of Barbara Pack's Junie B. Jones, Clarice often uses improper language constructions. Combined with the author's Australian/British expressions, this could be a bit disconcerting for American readers. Fans of the series may be disappointed that Clarice remains morose and irritable throughout most of the book, lacking the verve and humor of the previous books. Reviewer: Phyllis Kennemer, Ph.D.
Kirkus Reviews
In a Wemberly Worried (2000) for middle-grade readers, Clarice Bean catalogs concerns both immediate and cosmic ("Worry No. 3. Change."), while chronic lack of sleep, increasingly sharp arguments between her high-strung parents and the departure of best friend Betty Moody combine to drive her spiraling down into scowling gloom. Brusquely rejecting several overtures from classmates, she becomes a sour loner, compulsively scouring a cherished Guide For Spies by her literary heroine Ruby Redfort for advice while watching pretty new student Clem Hansson hook up (or so she thinks) with class sociopath Justin Broach. The domestic chaos that came off as funny in previous episodes just seems disturbing here. And though Child tries to lighten the load on her depressed protagonist by having her discover just how many friends she still has when Justin tries to bully her, and also to learn that she was wrong about Clem, her parents' imminent breakup and other matters, the effort comes too late to lift the dismal overall tone. Clarice Bean has many fans, but this new outing isn't as finely tuned as the others, and so is unlikely to earn her many new ones. (Fiction. 9-11)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780763639358
Publisher:
Candlewick Press
Publication date:
08/12/2008
Series:
Clarice Bean Series
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
256
Sales rank:
581,249
Product dimensions:
7.24(w) x 10.88(h) x 0.70(d)
Lexile:
1120L (what's this?)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Read an Excerpt

You see, the whole problem starts because Marcie is running a bath while she is also talking on the phone and she forgets that she has the faucet turned on and is just nonstop chatting with her friend Stan — Stan isa girl even though it doesn't sound like it and she mainly wears boys' clothes.

Anyway she is chatting so much that she forgets the bath, and the next thing you know, I am watching the television and finding it's raining intomy Snackle Pops.

Of course it takes me a few minutes to work out what is going on until I hear Minal shouting, "The carpet in our bedroom is all soggy." I go inthere and he is jumping up and down on it in his bare feet like an utter lunatic.

When Marcie realizes, she screams because she knows she will be in for it and in very big trouble.

Grandad is asleep in his chair and does not realize he has gone a bit damp at the edges until he wakes up.

He says, "It is funny, but I was dreaming I was in India during the monsoon."

What Ruby would say is, "When disaster strikes, stay calm and work as a team. Someone must take charge."

Marcie starts shouting at Minal. She says, "Why didn't you turn the faucet off, creep!" I say, "It's not his fault, you're the one who wasn't payingattention."

Of course Minal is quite surprised that I am defending him — as I normally do not. Marcie says, "A lot of good you are, just sitting watching TV all the time."

I say, "At least I don't cause Grandad to get all saturated in water — he might get a chill."

Kurt says, "Marcie, why are you blaming everyone else when it is your stupid fault?"

Marcie says, "Why don’t you go and call one of your drip girlfriends?"

And he says, "I would if I could ever manage to get the phone off you — is it Super-Glued to your ear?"

And then Marcie says something very rude and they get in an argument.

When Dad gets home, he makes a wincing face while he is listening to Marcie talking very, very fast about the happenings that have led up to this disaster.

Dad finally puts her out of her misery by saying, "OK, I gather from all this babbling that the soggy state of our home is due to you, but these thingshappen and who cannot put up their hand and say, 'I have overflowed a bath'?"

I want to put up my hand and say, "I have never overflowed a bath" but I am confused as to whether putting up my hand means I have or means Ihaven't — so I keep quiet.

Dad says, "Marce, if you just say you are sorry, that can be the end of it."

Marcie says, "I am sorry."

Dad says, "Fine, fetch a mop."

We all find ourselves doing a lot of mopping — even Grandad.

He says it reminds him of his Navy days when he used to have to scrub the decks.

Dad says, "You were never in the Navy."

Grandad says, "No, you are quite right; I must have been thinking of that movie I watched last week."

Anyway, by the time Mom gets home, everything is shipshape and there is no mess at all.

But it doesn’t take her long to realize something has happened — Mom is a bit like this.

She has a sixth sense for trouble.

She says, "So who’s going to tell me what small disaster occurred while I was out?"

Nobody says anything, but strangely there is a cracking noise and some powdery dust sprinkles down from above us.

Then there is a crashing sound and before we know what the dickens is going on, the ceiling is on the carpet.

Luckily it is not the ceiling above us or we would all be knocked out and possibly squashed and dead.

Mom squints at Dad, and Dad winces at Marcie, and Marcie bites her lip.

Of course, the person to call is Uncle Ted.

Uncle Ted comes over on the double because he is used to being phoned one minute and arriving the next.

You see, Uncle Ted is a fireman and he is good in an emergency.

Dad and Kurt and Uncle Ted clear up all the rubble.

Unfortunately what we discover is that the television is a goner.

It was all quite exciting and out of the ordinary until that happened, but now it is an utter disaster and a tragedy.

It’s like Ruby Redfort says: "Sometimes you will find you have a piece of equipment so vital that you will be totally lost without it — in other words, it is essential to your survival."

If you do find yourself with your most vitalist piece of equipment destroyed, then Ruby Redfort would say, "You must either improvise or seek out an alternative."

So of course I take her advice and call my best friend, Betty Moody, immediately.

And she says, "Come over any time."

So I say, "I'll be there first thing tomorrow."

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