Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
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.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Children's Literature - Jessica Becker
Clarice Bean is your typical kid and her family is just as crazy as yours is. Her older brother is in the tunnel of adolescence and her grandfather puts pea soup on his corn flakes. The house is non-stop activity, and though Clarice says "that's the way we (mostly) like it," she is pleasantly surprised to find her punishment to be the peaceful escape she was looking for. Young readers will relate to this story of a modern family, told through the hip words and artwork of spunky Clarice.
PreS-Gr 2-Having a large extended family living under one roof has both positive and negative points, according to Clarice Bean, who appears to be about seven years old. She longs for a little peace and quiet, a rare thing in a crowded house, especially since she shares a room with her younger brother, Minal Cricket. After she dumps a bowl of spaghetti on his head, she gets punished...or does she? "I am in such big trouble that I get sent to my room for 3 whole hours. Alone. I love it." The exuberant, childlike sketches are placed on boldly colored backgrounds with occasional photographs superimposed on them. The lively, busy format successfully expresses Clarice's boundless energy. Even the typeface is forever changing from script to bold, to wavy to vertical. The amusing endpapers show the entire cast of characters at home, each labeled, e.g., "Grandad (asleep as usual)" or "Mom (wondering where she's left her purse)." An entertaining glimpse at an active, close-knit household.-Maryann H. Owen, Racine Public Library, WI Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Arch and precocious, but insidiously charming, Clarice Bean takes an unvarnished look at her family. Conventions of space, typeface, endpapers, and title pages have been dispensed with; Clarice's relatives and madcap but affable household are created from a variety of fonts, collage effects, and stray bits of dialogue. Clarice shares a room with her little brother Minal (she dumps spaghetti on his head and muses that she should have put tapioca down his shorts) and comments on older sister Marcie's boy-obsession and older brother Kurt's penchant for being alone in a room "that smells of socks." While her mother escapes with scented candles and language tapes in the tub, and her father has a big fancy office, Clarice amuses herself by cheating at cards with her grandfather, whose eyesight isn't good. There is a sneaky sort of affection present, especially in the endpapers where the family gathers in assorted cozy positions with mordant commentary by Clarice; she could be Eloise, reincarnated for the millennium. Child may be aiming more at adults than at children, but today's preternaturally ironic readers may find Clarice divine. (Picture book. 6-10)
From the Publisher
"Bright and brassy, this youngster will win over readers in a split second and leave them hoping for more of her trials and tribulations." — Publishers Weekly - Starred review