Clarice Bean, That's Me and Clarice Bean, What Planet Are You From? By Lauren ChildCandlewick 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.
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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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