Monday, 10 January 2022

Blog Tour: Clementine Florentine by Tasha Harrison and Mya Mitchell (Children's, 9 years +, 10/10E


6th Januray 2022, UCLan Publishing, 172 pages, Paperback, Review copy 

 Book Summary from UCLan Publishing

Clementine Florentine is an illustrated comedy for 8-12 year olds with a strong female protagonist who has a talent for poetry and a passion for Custard Creams. 

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?

Nayu's thoughts 

At the moment I love humour, and since I happen to adore  Custard Creams I knew I would love Clementine's tale and I did!  I felt bad why she grew out of love with custard creams, and how that nemesis became the focus of her wrath for a while. When someone gets kicked in the teeth metaphorically it really hurts. Clementine's hurt is real, and she has no clue how much of a help she is to Lyn who is rather unique, and Viv adores Clem, who feels the same about her.  After all Clem did hide Viv in her room and something unmentionable then happened to her father which was utterly hilarious but at the same time I could feel the horror. 

The range of emotions are off the charts strong and relatable, from both characters and events. The car event sticks strongly in my mind, as it must have been dreadful and I sincerely hope Tasha never experienced this to put it into Clem's tale. The shame Clem feels when she takes things too far and gets told off by her father who she loves a lot bounced off the page. We all make mistakes, we have to live with the consequences of those mistakes. I am thankful Clem was able to mend bridges with her family and her best friend Rom who like Clem is one of a kind and brilliant. 

I felt sorry for Clem's father, he clearly works hard, struggles a bit as a single parent to two extremely energetic girls. There is a moment when he loses the plot (not the actual plot), and his actions shock Clem, but he apologises and they move forward together. It shows he is allowed to not get things right, which he does more than once (the walk...) and have strong emotions. Clem gains an insight into his feelings and she seems to take them on board by the end. Her passion for revenge did err into being spiteful, but essentially Clem is a kind girl and she finds ways to make it up to everyone. 

I had to smile as the proof copy had a paperclip illustration around every page number, perhaps a nod to Lyn's origins? Every illustration made me smile even more than from reading what was going on. Humour makes the world go round, although there are times which seriousness is needed and others will not always share a sense of humour, as Clem finds out. I did not expect her to learn to like her nemesis, but I did guess what would happen with Lyn which was beautiful to see. We can all have our confidence dented, it can often taken time and someone else to lift us back up and steer us on the path we are meant to be on. There had better be a book 2! I want to know if Clem's sister continues with her bow and arrow obsession, and if her greedy cat manages to lose weight.

Find out more on Tasha's website

Suggested read

If you love books about friendship check out You've Got A Friend by Judi Curtin (Children's, 9 years +, 10E/10E)


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