Clementine Rose and the Perfect Present by Jacqueline Harvey, paperback novel, 147 pages, published by Random House Australia in 2013.
A huge wedding is scheduled to occur at Penberthy House, and it is all hands on deck to make it successful. Unfortunately Uncle Digby becomes ill and is taken to the hospital, accompanied by Lady Clarissa, leaving Aunt Violet in charge of the guests. Clementine Rose does her best to help Aunt Violet, but the grumpy old woman seems to find it impossible to be pleasant! Amidst the growing chaos and excitement at Penberthy House, Clemmie is feeling sad and upset because she hasn’t received an invitation to Angus’ birthday party, and she seems to be the only one in the class left out. She tries to convince herself she doesn’t want to go anyway, but deep down she knows it’s simply not true. Is it a mistake, or is Angus really that mean? And will the wedding be a success even with Aunt Violet at the helm?
Clementine Rose and the Perfect Present is the third installment of the very popular Clementine Rose series. These books are suitable for lower to middle primary age children. I am reading them to my preschooler, and she just loves them, she adores Clemmie and wishes she had a tea-cup pig just like Lavender. My preschooler often tells me that she is glad her teacher is not like Mrs Bottomley, Clemmie’s kindergarten teacher. I can scarcely think of a character less suitable for teaching five year olds than Mrs Bottomley! She is so well written that my preschooler scowls every time she is mean to Clemmie, as though she were witnessing these events in her own classroom. My favourite character is definitely Aunt Violet. She can be so obnoxious and rude, yet there is a gentle side that occasionally flashes through her outer veneer of haughtiness. She reminds me of a few old ladies I’ve met! Of course, Clemmie is a weakness for Aunt Violet, and how could she not be? So wonderfully sweet and innocent, and always trying her best, Clementine Rose is an excellent role model for children.
Clementine Rose and the Perfect Present is funny and well written with a scattering of black and white illustrations throughout. The storyline is interesting, yet not too complicated, perfect for the intended audience. My preschooler laughed so hard over Uncle Orville’s antics surrounding the wedding, especially when he hopped into Aunt Violet’s bed accidentally, thinking it was his own. And she was quite relieved that Uncle Digby was going to be okay, and that Angus is becoming nicer all the time.
I am enjoying reading the Clementine Rose books with my preschooler, I love hearing her laugh, and ask for more. She is so excited to read Clemmie, she barely lets me take a breath between books! If you haven’t tried Clementine Rose yet, what are you waiting for?