Utterly Me, Clarice Bean
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Utterly Me, Clarice Bean

4.3 8
by Lauren Child

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"Fans of Child's irrepressible, impulsive picture-book heroine — as well as kids who have not yet had the pleasure of making her acquaintance — will devour her first chapter-book adventure." —PUBLISHERS WEEKLY

It's not easy to concentrate at school when mysterious things are happening all around you. In fact, Clarice Bean is


"Fans of Child's irrepressible, impulsive picture-book heroine — as well as kids who have not yet had the pleasure of making her acquaintance — will devour her first chapter-book adventure." —PUBLISHERS WEEKLY

It's not easy to concentrate at school when mysterious things are happening all around you. In fact, Clarice Bean is starting to feel just like her favorite heroine: Ruby Redfort, schoolgirl detective. Clarice and her utterly best friend, Betty Moody, are planning to ace their book project about Ruby and win the class prize, until Betty disappears into thin air, and horrible teacher Mrs. Wilberton teams Clarice up with the naughtiest boy in school. Will her new partner ruin everything? Will Betty ever come back? And what on earth happened to the silver trophy everyone's hoping to win? Lauren Child brings her trademark wacky wit and eccentric visual energy to a full-length, fastpaced Clarice Bean episode that will charm even the most capricious reader.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
According to PW, "Fans of Child's irrepressible, impulsive picture-book heroine-as well as kids who have not yet made her acquaintance-will devour her first chapter-book adventure." Ages 8-11. (May) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
A young girl, Clarice, narrates the story through diary entries about her daily life. Clarice loves to read the Ruby Redfort detective series and models her own thoughts after the fictional character Ruby. Clarice is assigned a class project that includes both reading and researching someone who has made an impact on literature; she of course picks the current Ruby Redfort book that she is reading. When Clarice selects her best friend Betty to be her partner, she discovers that Betty has disappeared without contacting Clarice before leaving. Instead, her teacher pairs her with Karl, who is known to cause trouble in her classroom, which Clarice is not happy about at all. Once she begins to work with Karl, she learns that he is creative and has made some ingenious plans for their project to win the trophy as well as a mystery prize. Clarice writes in her diary about the odd things and situations that keep happening around her, not to mention how some of her family members and other people are acting stranger and even nice sometimes. She goes to work to figure out what is going on and gets to the bottom of each situation by using the techniques she has learned from reading about Ruby. An important life discovery for Clarice is that it is beneficial to find out the whole story before making a brash decision about someone or something. Black-and-white pictures compliment the story well. The book is fast moving, suspenseful and relates well to kids, especially with fun and quirky text. A bright pink ribbon bookmark is included. A great book for reluctant readers. 2003, Candlewick Press, Ages 8 to 12.
— Christy Oestreich
School Library Journal
Gr 1-5-Fans of this irrepressible picture-book character will appreciate this expanded episode for chapter-book readers. Clarice and her best friend are collaborating on a project for school, showing what they have learned from a series of books about their favorite girl detective. When Betty fails to return to school, their teacher pairs Clarice with the worst boy in the class. As they work together on the assignment, she realizes that Karl has really good ideas and isn't such a bad guy. When Betty comes back (from having been whisked off to Russia with her parents), she feels left out. But then Karl is accused of stealing a trophy cup, Clarice turns detective, and the girls patch up their friendship. These amusing characters speak in a delightful, childlike language. Many passages are done in type that playfully swoops over the pages, as when the protagonist is describing a swimming and diving experience. Stylized, mixed-media illustrations appear throughout. For those who can't get enough of Junie B. Jones, Clarice Bean is an utterly entertaining alternative.-JoAnn Jonas, Chula Vista Public Library, San Diego, CA Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
The flibbertigibbet, middle-child star of three picture books jumps to a more extended format without losing her exuberance, short attention span, or stream-of-consciousness style of narration. So wrapped up is Clarice in gobbling down mysteries featuring a Nancy Drew-like sleuth, that she can't think of any other books to use in a class project that's supposed to highlight reading's educational benefits. Then, not only does her partner and best friend Betty Moody disappear on a sudden family trip, leaving her saddled with class troublemaker Karl Wrenbury, but the trophy cup that was earmarked for the winning project disappears. Despite a lack of evidence, humorless teacher Mrs. Wilbarton blames Karl, thus leaving Clarice partnerless again. Meanwhile, there are mysteries on the domestic front. Using extra punctuation and changes in type and line shape for emphasis, Child not only gives Clarice a distinctive preteen voice, but captures the chaos around her with plenty of sketchy, interspersed ink drawings and collages. Not that it wins the trophy, but this middle-class Eloise turns out to be a good loser, and she will certainly win over plenty of readers. (Fiction. 9-11)

Product Details

Candlewick Press
Publication date:
Clarice Bean Series
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.56(w) x 7.31(h) x 0.62(d)
900L (what's this?)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Read an Excerpt

This is me, Clarice Bean.

I am not an only child, but I sometimes wish I was.

My family is six people, which is sometimes

too many. Not always, just sometimes.

My dad is mostly in an office on the phone, going, "I can't talk now — I'm up to my ears in it."

Mom is always gribbling about pants on the floor and shoes on the sofa. She says, "This house doesn't clean itself, you know.

"Who do you think does everything around here?

"Mr. Nobody?

"I don't get paid to pick up your smelly socks! If I did, I'd be a rich woman." etc. etc. non stop.

I am the third oldest, and I think it would have been a good idea if I was the youngest, too. I am not quite sure why my mom and dad wanted to have more children after me. They don't need another one and it's a shame because he is spoiling it for everyone else. He is called Minal Cricket and he tends to be utterly a nuisance. He is nonstop whining and causing other people to get themselves in trouble.

You might think it would be a relief to come to school, but if you do, then obviously you don't know some of the people in my class. Naming no names, i.e., Grace Grapello, what a showoff.

Sometimes I stare boredly into space, thinking utterly of nothing. This makes Mrs. Wilberton very irritated. I get on her nerves. I know this because she is always telling me I do.

To be honest, Mrs. Wilberton is not my favorite person on the planet of Earth. Unfortunately, I am from Earth and she is my teacher.

UTTERLY ME, CLARICE BEAN by Lauren Child. Copyright (c) 2003 by Lauren Child. Published by Candlewick Press, Inc., Cambridge, MA.

Meet the Author

Lauren Child says that she does a lot of staring into space, which is how she thought up the character of Clarice Bean, now the spunky subject of four illustrated books. When Lauren Child was younger, she liked watching cartoons and overhearing conversations, and her ambition was to wear sunglasses on top of her head. She still likes to watch cartoons and overhear conversations, and she claims to have achieved her ambition. Lauren Child has written and illustrated numerous other books, including I WILL NEVER NOT EVER EAT A TOMATO, which won the Kate Greenaway Medal. The author-illustrator lives and works in London, England.

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Utterly Me, Clarice Bean 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love this book SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO UTTERLY much and i love the rest of the series just as utterly much!!!! It has inspired me to read and WRITE i thank Lauren Child for these books but would please like to know if she could write some more chapter books i am UTTERLY in the need for them
Guest More than 1 year ago
Oh my gosh this is the best book in the world.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Omg!This book was sooo good,its hilarious!Clarice bean has a great sense of humor!Ten thumbs up!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Guest More than 1 year ago
I couldn't read it again, but if I had time I would.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is, honestly, the first Clarice Bean book I've read. But that didn't matter, because this book was amazing! It always kept me guessing, and kept me entertained along the way with Clarice's crazy antics. I'm eager to read the next one--I'm sure it's just as wonderful!