Clementine Florentine by Tasha Harrison & Mya Mitchell

Clementine Florentine is the amusing and poignant story of ten year old Clementine’s attempts to sabotage Dad’s relationship with his new friend Mel before they fall in love. Humorous but also heartwrenching the story sympathetically portrays a child’s attempt to deal with a threatened change to her family situation and the repercussions that her actions have on her other relationships.

The Story: Clementine Florentine is horrified when she hears that Dad is going out with Mel, her classmate Callum’s mother. After Callum won Ferndale Juniors Poetry Challenge he made a snarky comment about Clementine’s custard cream poem and knocked her confidence. Clementine would like to start writing again but she’s nervous about writing any more new poems.

Clementine lives with her divorced Dad and her younger sister Lottie, her mum has a job which involves a lot of travel. Callum and Mel are new to the area but Callum still hopes that his mum and dad will get back together. Both children struggle with Dad and Mel’s new friendship but put their own relationship difficulties aside to set up Operation Bad Romance. Their attempts to break their parents up include food sabotage, fake tan and a goldfish. But what will happen when their parents realise what they are up to?

Clementine and Callum are in the same year six class and are lucky to have a cool new teacher, Mr C. Mr C has organised a Spoken Word competition and encourages his pupils to enter their poems. Clementine’s family difficulties are intertwined with her preparations for Spoken Word and lead to an interesting collaboration on the night of the competition.

Clementine Florentine includes a diverse cast of characters who often add a comedy balance to Clementine’s emotional angst. We love Mr C and the way he solved Callum’s trouser problem at the competition made us laugh out loud! New neighbour, faded punk rocker, Lyn Ferno, and her parrot find a novel way to help Clementine regain her writing confidence and her old school teacher, Ingrid has an interesting dress sense and a greedy dog who causes smelly chaos when Clementine’s family help her out by dog sitting.

Mya Mitchell’s illustrations add to the humour in the text – we love the expressions on the characters’ faces, the safety pins showing the page numbers and the style of the chapter headings.

Clementine Florentine made us laugh in so many places but we also sympathised with Clementine’s worries about Dad and Mel’s relationship. The themes of friendship, family dynamics and creativity are woven together with comic moments which lead to a satisfying ending. 

Age Range: 8 +

Author: Tasha Harrison / Illustrator: Mya Mitchell

Thank you uclanpublishing for sending a proof copy of this amusing story. We’d love to see Clementine and her family in another book 🙂

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