Clementine Rose and the Surprise Visitor by Jacqueline Harvey, paperback, 133 pages, published by Random House Australia in 2012.
Clementine Rose is a sweet little girl of five living in an oversized estate house in disrepair, which her mother, Lady Clarissa Appleby, runs as a country guest house. Also living in Penberthy House, is the very old butler, Digby Pertwhistle, affectionately known as Uncle Digby. Along with her pet tea-cup pig Lavender, Clementine Rose lives a wonderfully happy life. However, all that is threatened when Lade Clarissa’s Aunt Violet appears, moves into the best room in the house with her extremely ugly sphynx, Pharaoh, and grumps and sneers at everyone and everything. Clementine Rose has never met anyone as rude and mean as Aunt Violet. How will they cope with Aunt Violet in the house, and when is she going to leave?
Clementine Rose and the Surprise Visitor is the first book in the Clementine Rose series from Jacqueline Harvey. It is a great introduction to Clementine, who is such a sweet and innocent character. And Aunt Violet is the epitome of sour old lady with her scary cat, and contemptuous sneering and sniping. All the characters are very well written, and the story is engaging and entertaining. The moment Clementine accidentally tosses a guest’s toupee into the fire is just hilarious, and her safari adventure in the library with her friends has prompted my kids to ask for a similar camp-out (though we don’t have fire to toast marshmallows over!). A fun read suitable for kids in lower and middle primary school, Clementine Rose and the Surprise Visitor will make them laugh, and will probably make them want a cute little tea-cup pig just like Lavender!
My second grader enjoys Clementine Rose stories, though she finds them a little easy going now she will still listen when I read them to her sister. My preschooler just loves the Clementine Rose series, and wants me to keep reading and reading until the book ends! And then she wants to start another straight away. I really like sharing these books with her as well, I enjoy reading about Clementine’s adventures almost as much as she does!