UK Kirkus Review »
Lauren Child's first Clarice Bean book, Clarice Bean, That's Me, was published in 1999 and shortlisted for the Smarties Award. Her delightfully wacky young heroine and her madcap family were an instant hit with young readers; fans of the Bean household will be captivated by her latest escapades in this full-length novel. Once again Child's vivacious prose leaps off the page, accompanied by her trademark sparky black-and-white illustrations. The print jumps boldly from upper to lower case, fonts are juggled with gay abandon and Child delights in swirling the text around on the page to suit the plot. The result is a story bubbling with exuberance and vitality. Clarice can't concentrate at school and her teacher, the dreaded Mrs Wilberton, is on her back. The trouble is, Clarice can't think of anything but the adventures of her favourite girl detective, Ruby Redfort, and spends every spare minute devouring the stories. When the class is asked to do a school project on a book, Clarice and her best friend Betty decide to write about their beloved Ruby. But before they can get under way mysterious things start to happen. Why does Grandad keep disappearing off to the shed? Who is moving the coats around at school? And what has happened to the school project trophy? Then Betty herself disappears with just a tattered postcard as a clue. Can Clarice use all those detective skills picked up from Ruby Redfort and find her missing pal? The story is full of hilarious characters, who are way out yet instantly identifiable - many parents will know only too well what it's like to cope with a soap-loathing Kurt or an eccentric Grandad who won't abide by the rules. Lauren Child has said she doesn't believe in underestimating children - her latest book is funny and absorbing yet full of a witty sophistication which will not be lost on her young readers. Ages 7-10 (Kirkus UK)
US Kirkus Review » The flibbertigibbet, middle-child star of three picture books jumps to a more extended format without losing her exuberance, short attention span, or stream-of-consciousness style of narration. So wrapped up is Clarice in gobbling down mysteries featuring a Nancy Drew-like sleuth, that she can't think of any other books to use in a class project that's supposed to highlight reading's educational benefits. Then, not only does her partner and best friend Betty Moody disappear on a sudden family trip, leaving her saddled with class troublemaker Karl Wrenbury, but the trophy cup that was earmarked for the winning project disappears. Despite a lack of evidence, humorless teacher Mrs. Wilbarton blames Karl, thus leaving Clarice partnerless again. Meanwhile, there are mysteries on the domestic front. Using extra punctuation and changes in type and line shape for emphasis, Child not only gives Clarice a distinctive preteen voice, but captures the chaos around her with plenty of sketchy, interspersed ink drawings and collages. Not that it wins the trophy, but this middle-class Eloise turns out to be a good loser, and she will certainly win over plenty of readers. (Fiction. 9-11) (Kirkus Reviews)
Book Review: Clarice Bean, Utterly Me by Lauren Child - Reviewed by Romi Foster (25 Nov 2011)
The Very first of the Clarice Bean novels. It was followed over the years by two more, Clairce Bean's Spelling Trouble and Clarice Bean don't look now, and in each book Clarice is just as festy, just as ripping a character, just as crazy and full of daily truths, words we want to use after she has and a family that is so abnormally fun, hectic, stressed out and cool that we all feel a great love for them.
Clarice is older here, than in the picture books where she first started off, and she is ready to welcome you into her world. Go!