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Cover image for Utterly me, Clarice Bean
Utterly me, Clarice Bean




1st U.S. ed.
Publication Information:
Cambridge, MA : Candlewick Press, 2003.
Physical Description:
190 pages : illustrations ; 19 cm
When someone steals the winner's trophy for the school book project, Clarice emulates her favorite book heroine, Ruby Redfort the detective.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader 5.5.

AR 5.5 3.0.


Call Number
J Child, L.

On Order



The quirky Clarice Bean tries on the unlikely role of super sleuth in her first utterly suspenseful, utterly hilarious full-length adventure.

It's not easy to concentrate at school when mysterious things are happening all around you. In fact, Clarice Bean is starting to feel just like her favorite heroine: Ruby Redfort, schoolgirl detective. Clarice and her utterly best friend, Betty Moody, are planning to ace their book project about Ruby and win the class prize, until Betty disappears into thin air, and horrible teacher Mrs. Wilberton teams Clarice up with the naughtiest boy in school. Will her new partner ruin everything? Will Betty ever come back? And what on earth happened to the silver trophy everyone's hoping to win? Lauren Child brings her trademark wacky wit and eccentric visual energy to a full-length, fast-paced Clarice Bean episode that will charm even the most capricious reader. The book's contemporary design comes complete with an eye-catching ribbon bookmark.

Author Notes

Lauren Child (born in 1965 in England) is an English author and illustrator. She is best known for writing the Charlie and Lola books and Clarice Bean novels. Her second book in this series, Clarice Bean Spells Trouble, was shortlisted for the 2005 British Book Awards Children's Book of the Year. A number of spin off books are available based on the scripts of the TV shows, though these were not written or illustrated by Child. Charlie and Lola has been sold throughout the world, and has won many prizes, including BAFTAs in 2007 for Best children's Television Show and Best Script. She writes the Ruby Redfort series. Book six, Blink and You Die, is on the bestseller list.

Lauren Child lives in London. (Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 5

School Library Journal Review

Gr 1-5-Fans of this irrepressible picture-book character will appreciate this expanded episode for chapter-book readers. Clarice and her best friend are collaborating on a project for school, showing what they have learned from a series of books about their favorite girl detective. When Betty fails to return to school, their teacher pairs Clarice with the worst boy in the class. As they work together on the assignment, she realizes that Karl has really good ideas and isn't such a bad guy. When Betty comes back (from having been whisked off to Russia with her parents), she feels left out. But then Karl is accused of stealing a trophy cup, Clarice turns detective, and the girls patch up their friendship. These amusing characters speak in a delightful, childlike language. Many passages are done in type that playfully swoops over the pages, as when the protagonist is describing a swimming and diving experience. Stylized, mixed-media illustrations appear throughout. For those who can't get enough of Junie B. Jones, Clarice Bean is an utterly entertaining alternative.-JoAnn Jonas, Chula Vista Public Library, San Diego, CA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publisher's Weekly Review

According to PW, "Fans of Child's irrepressible, impulsive picture-book heroine-as well as kids who have not yet made her acquaintance-will devour her first chapter-book adventure." Ages 8-11. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Horn Book Review

Clarice Bean's idiosyncratic takes on her mean teacher, her at-wit's-end parents, and her best friends combine for an entertaining, lighthearted read: in this chapter book, Clarice's book report topic (and mystery-solving inspiration) is girl secret agent Ruby Redfort. Clarice's voice of faux-naïf preciosity is grating at times, but scribbly cartoon illustrations and a wavy, bumpy typeface further the playful tone. From HORN BOOK Spring 2004, (c) Copyright 2010. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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) Copyright ©Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Booklist Review

Gr. 2-5. The intrepid heroine of three previous picture books makes her debut in full-length fiction. This time Clarice is having trouble with her obstreperous family, an irritating teacher, and a best friend who suddenly disappears. She draws solace from reading about girl-detective Ruby Redfort, who leads what Clarice considers a perfect life and inspires Clarice to use her own investigative skills to make some sense of her family, help out a classmate wrongly accused of stealing, and repair a misunderstanding with best friend Betty Moody. A funny, appealing individual who owns up to her shortcomings and tries her best, even if she doesn't always succeed, Clarice is an exceptionally strong character, and her story, delivered in deadpan, forthright prose, perfectly captures a child's voice in a way that will elicit laughter even from the grumpy. The frequent black line illustrations (some worked into the text) and the experimentation with word size and placement on the page are great carryovers from the picture books. A perfect choice for reading aloud or for newly independent chapter-book readers, this will utterly captivate a wide audience. --Kay Weisman Copyright 2003 Booklist