Clarice Bean

Lauren Child

We’ve only got one of the three Clarice Bean book at home – Clarice Bean, Don’t Look Now. I’m halfway through reading it for the second time, this time to Clio, and I’m even more impressed by it than when I read it to Grace. It’s almost as fun to read out loud as the Jeeves and Wooster stories. Child has an uncanny ear for the ways in which bright kids will twist language to their own ends and harp on favourite words. The family relationships are pretty well done, and the character names are inspired. For example: the school bully is called Justin Broach, which I think sublimely comic: a name that demands to be read with a ten-year-old’s rolling of the eyes.

Which writer was it who talked about “the song under the song” of a style? (Russell Hoban? Proust?) The song under the song of Child is pure playground chatter.

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