Clementine Florentine by Tasha Harrison

Illustrated by Mya Mitchell.

Published by uclan publishing, 2022.

Clementine Florentine is such a funny book! It had me laughing out loud throughout; witty dialogue, hilarious situations and madcap characters abound.

In an ingenious reverse Parent Trap, Clementine and her school nemesis Callum have to work together to break Clem’s dad and Callum’s mum up before they fall ‘in lurrrvee’ and the two poetry rivals end up step brother and sister!

However, an unlikely friendship with ageing punk icon Lyn Ferno and her chatty pet parrot Viv helps Clem to start seeing things differently. But, by then, is it too late to undo the damage she’s caused?

Clementine is such a fun, relatable character. She finds herself in lots of funny scrapes – my favourite is the scene where her dad first encounters Viv – and her reactions and comments are priceless. Children are going to see themselves in her and the things she has to deal with: the cringeworthy things parents do; troubles navigating school life; friendship issues and an annoying younger sibling. With her sass and scheming, Clem is a great female lead character.

The supporting cast is fab too. I particularly liked the animals: Viv the parrot squawking ”Punk is dead!”, the pet goldfish Mr Miyagi and the neighbour’s dog with an insatiable appetite – Eddie Two-Balls.

In addition to the humour, the book sensitively explores family dynamics, from divorce to blended families, jealousy about parents’ new partners, and sibling rivalry. Tasha Harrison does not shy away from difficult emotions, conflict or regrettable behaviour.

Funny, touching and real, Clementine Florentine is a real joy of a book.

Rating: 💙💙💙💙

Suitable for children aged 8+

Thank you to uclan for sending me this book to review.

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