The Talented Clementine


By Sara Pennypacker

Illustrated by Marla Frazee

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$37.99 CAD


This item is a preorder. Your payment method will be charged immediately, and the product is expected to ship on or around May 1, 2007. This date is subject to change due to shipping delays beyond our control.

This delightful chapter book series, from the award-winning author of Pax, is a modern classic that has been keeping readers engaged and laughing as they follow the hijinks of Clementine, a clever and quirky third grader who’s the most spectacular friend around. Perfect for fans of Amelia Bedelia and Ivy + Bean!

When it comes to tackling third grade, Clementine is at the top of her game-okay, so maybe not all the time. After her teacher announces that the third and fourth graders will be putting on a talent show, Clementine panics. She doesn't sing or dance or play an instrument. She can't even hop with finesse. And as if that didn't make her feel bad enough, her perfect best friend, Margaret, has so many talents, she has to alphabetize them to keep them straight? How can Clementine ever hope to compete?

As the night of the big "Talent-palooza" draws closer, Clementine is desperate for an act, any act. But the unexpected talent she demonstrates at the show surprises everyone-most of all herself.

Clementine’s Letter
Clementine, Friend of the Week
Clementine and the Family Meeting
Clementine and the Spring Trip
Completely Clementine


I have noticed that teachers get exciting confused with boring a lot. But when my teacher said, “Class, we have an exciting project to talk about,” I listened anyway.

“Our school is going to raise money for the big spring trip,” he said. “The first and second grades are going to hold a bake sale. The fifth and sixth grades are going to have a car wash. And the third and fourth grades are going to…put on a talent show!”

All the kids in the room made sounds as if they thought a talent show was exciting news. Except me, because it was N-O-T, not.

But okay, fine, it wasn’t boring, either.

Just then, Margaret’s teacher came to the door to talk to my teacher, which was good because it gave me an extra minute to think.

“Old people love to pat my little brother’s head,” I said when my teacher walked back into the room. “How about we set up a booth and charge them a quarter to do it, instead of having a talent show?”

But he ignored me, which is called Getting on with the Day when a teacher does it, and Being Inconsiderate when a kid does it.

“Class,” he said, “one of the fourth graders has come up with a name for our show! Talent-Palooza, Night of the Stars!”

It had to be that Margaret.

“First, we’ll need a cooperative group to make some posters….” my teacher said.

And that’s when the worried feeling—as if somebody were scribbling with a big black crayon—started up in my brains.

My teacher kept on going with the cooperative group list. The scribbling got harder and faster and spread down into my stomach. I knew what this meant.

I raised my hand.

“Yes, Clementine? Would you like to be in the cooperative group for refreshments?”

“No, thank you,” I said, extra politely. “What I’d like is to go to Mrs. Rice’s office.”

“Clementine, you don’t need to go see the principal,” my teacher said. “You’re not in any trouble.”

“Well, it’s just a matter of time,” I told him.

My teacher looked at me as if he suddenly had no idea how I’d gotten into his classroom. But then he gave a big sigh and said, “All right,” so I got up.

As I left, the O’Malley twins gave me the thumbs-up sign, which made me feel like I wasn’t alone. But they were wearing their “Thank goodness it’s not me” faces, which made me know that I was.

I walked down the hall on worried legs and knocked on the door with worried knuckles.

“Come in,” Principal Rice said. When she saw it was me, she held out her hand for the note from my teacher that would tell her what kind of a little chat we should have. We have done this a lot.

But today I just sat on the chair and started right in. “Which are smarter? Chimpanzees or orangutans?”

“That’s an interesting question, Clementine,” Mrs. Rice said. “Maybe you could ask the science teacher after you’ve told me what you’re doing here.”

“Also, I’ve been wondering what the difference is between smashed and crashed.”

Mrs. Rice handed me her dictionary.

And then suddenly I didn’t want to know anymore! That is the miracle about dictionaries!

“Well, how about you put it on the floor so you can rest your feet on it instead of kicking my desk?” Principal Rice suggested. “You seem to have very busy feet today.”

So I did, and it felt good. “Thank you,” I said. “I don’t have any talents.”

“Excuse me?” said Principal Rice.

“I don’t have any talents,” I said again.

Mrs. Rice looked at me for a long time and then she said, “Oh.”

Then I told her I was all done being there and I left.

When I got off the bus, Margaret’s brother, Mitchell, was sitting on the front steps of our apartment building.

“What’s the matter, Clementine?” he asked me right away—I guess my worried face was still on.

I handed him the stupid flyer my teacher had sent home with us.

“‘Talent-Palooza, Night of the Stars! Share your talents Saturday night!’” he read. Then he handed the stupid flyer back to me. “So, what’s the problem?”

I leaned over—but not too close in case he thought I was trying to be his girlfriend, which I am not—and whispered the problem to him.

“I can’t hear you,” he said.

So I whispered it again.

“I still can’t hear you,” he said.

So I yelled it.

“That’s impossible,” he said. “Everybody has a talent.”

“Not me.”

“No singing?”

“No singing.”

“No dancing?”

“No dancing.”

“No musical instruments?”

“No musical instruments.”

Mitchell was quiet for a minute.

“How about hopping?” he asked finally.

“No hopping,” I answered.

“Everyone can hop,” Mitchell said.

“Not me.” Then I proved it to him.

“Wow,” said Mitchell. Twice.

I sat down on the step beside him. Except I fell off, because my body was a little confused from trying to hop. “See?” I said. “I can’t even do sitting. It’s hopeless.”

“Maybe not. Cheer up. Maybe you have a really great talent you just haven’t figured out yet.”

I gave Mitchell a “See? I’m cheered up already!” smile. But it was just my mouth pretending.

The next morning, Margaret sat next to me on the bus as usual. I had never noticed it before, but she was very talented at sitting down: her dress stayed in place as if it were painted on, and not a single paper spilled out of her backpack.

Which reminded me to crawl under the seat to get all mine before we got to the school. This is called Being Organized.

The O’Malley twins got on at the next stop and sat in front of us. They are named Willy and Lilly. When I first heard about this idea, I tried to get my parents to change my brother’s name so it would rhyme with mine. “How about Blementine?” I asked them. “How about Frementine, or Shlementine?”

But they weren’t interested, so I just keep calling him vegetable names, which are the only ones worse than a fruit name, like I got stuck with.

Lilly turned around. “What are you going to do at the talent show, Margaret?” she asked.


  • Praise for the Clementine series:
    New York Times Bestseller
    Winner of 2008 Rhode Island Children's Book Award
    Winner of 2008 William Allen White Children's Book Award
    Winner of the 2007 Boston Globe/Horn Book Honor
    Winner of 2008 Great Lakes Great Books Award
    Winner of the 2007 Josette Frank Book Award
    Winner of the 2007 Sid Fleishman Award
    A 2006 School Library Journal Best Book of Year
    A 2006 Child Magazine Best Book of Year
    A 2006 Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year
    A 2006 National Parenting Publication Gold Award Winner
    A 2006 Nick Jr. Family Magazine's Best Book of the Year
    A 2006 Miami Herald Best Book of the Year

    *"A delightful addition to any beginning chapter-book collection."
    —School Library Journal, starred review

    *"Along with humorous bits, Pennypacker seamlessly weaves into the narrative common third-grade themes...Fans of Judy Moody will welcome this portrait of another funny, independent third-grader."
    —Publishers Weekly, starred review

    *"Middle-grade readers will sympathize with Clementine's conflicted feelings about her friend and her family, and laugh out loud at her impulsive antics, narrated in a fresh first-person voice and illustrated with plenty of humor. Give this to readers of Cleary and Blume and cross your fingers for more."
    —Kirkus Reviews, starred review

On Sale
May 1, 2007
Page Count
144 pages

Sara Pennypacker

About the Author

Sara Pennypacker splits her time between Florida and Massachusetts, were she feels lucky to be able to write every day. She is the author of many children’s books, including Waylon! One Awesome Thing and Waylon! Even More Awesome, the New York Times #1 bestseller Pax; seven in the New York Times bestselling Clementine series; two in the Stuart series; Meet the Dullards; Summer of the Gypsy Moths; and Sparrow Girl. Her books have won numerous accolades, including a Golden Kite Award, a Christopher Award, and several children’s choice state awards, and they have appeared on many Best Books of the Year lists. For more information, visit

Marla Frazee illustrated Waylon! One Awesome Thing and Waylon! Even More Awesome and all of the books in the Clementine series. She was awarded a Caldecott Honor on two occasions: for All the World by Liz Garton Scanlon, and her own A Couple of Boys Have the Best Week Ever. She is also the author-illustrator of Roller Coaster, Walk On!, Santa Claus the World’s Number One Toy Expert, and The Boss Baby, which inspired a major motion picture. Marla has three grown sons, and works in a small backyard cabin under an avocado tree. Visit her at

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