Clarice Bean, That's Me and Clarice Bean, What Planet Are You From? By Lauren Child Candlewick Press, $7.99 each
Best for ages: 6-9
What they're about: These delightful books (available for the first time in paperwork) are from the creator of Charlie and Lola. Clarice Bean, That's Me, introduces us to the wry and wise-beyond-her-years narrator. She details the trials and tribulations of dealing with a large and colorful family who never seem to give her any peace and quiet. In Clarice Bean, What Planet Are You From?, she and her family become eco-warriors as they try to save a beloved neighborhood tree.
What kids will like: The zany, colorful illustrations and crazy type make these fun and engaging reads. Clarice also makes up her own inventive vocabulary (such as "squillions"), which my daughter loved.
What parents will like: It's always refreshing to see strong and sassy female characters. Clarice is very self-assured and stands up for her ideals. The sardonic humor may be lost on younger kids, but grown-ups will appreciate it. I loved Clarice's portrayals of her parents: her mom unwinds by listening to whale songs in the bathtub and her father hides out in his office oasis eating Rocky Road.
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