Nurse Clementine by Simon James

Simon James has been a favorite of mine (and my kids) for almost 20 years now, since my daughter was given his classic and most widely known book, Dear Mr Blueberry, when she was a toddler. Dear Mr Blueberry, an epistolary tale, is the correspondence between Emily and her teacher. When a whale shows up in Emily's pond, she asks her teacher the best way to care for him. Mr Blueberry responds gently at first, then quite firmly, educating but also insisting that it is not possible for a whale to be living in her pond. When Emily reads Mr Blueberry's letters to Arthur, the name she has given the whale, he sees the wisdom of his words and leaves for the ocean. The book ends happily, with Emily seeing Arthur one last time at the seashore, where they share a sandwich before he migrates south. Those of you who have read any Roald Dahl books will find James' illustrations familiar, as his work resembles that of the great Quentin Blake. However, James's style, like his stories, is a softer and by far sweeter than Blake's. In each and every one of his books, James has a way with creating a story that is funny, family and/or friendship centered and always charming.

With Nurse Clementine, James has written and illustrated a sibling story that will resonate with little listeners and parents. Clementine gets a nurse's outfit and a first aid kit for her birthday saying to her parents, "It's just what I wanted." She proceeds to tend to her parents' (and the dog, Wellington) illnesses and injuries, always wrapping them in bandages and saying, "You'll need to keep this on for a week." However, in her little brother Tommy she meets her match. I wish I had an image of their first two-page encounter: Tommy the superhero has created a ramp and an obstacle by placing a plank on the stairs and a cardboard box in his path and, wearing his roller skates, he is flying down through the air! He crashes more than a few times but refuses Clementine's help. When he finally does need her services, it is a perfect moment. And, in the absence of scissors, Clementine ends up wrapping Tommy with her whole supply of bandages...

Since I don't have many images to share from Nurse Clementine, here are a couple from James's Baby Brains books. Mr and Mrs Brains are expecting a baby and want him to be as smart as can me. They read to the baby, play music for him and other educational things before he is born. Shortly after his birth, Baby Brains is fixing the car and asking to go to school. James's books are laugh-out-loud hilarious, especially to parents who have done these very things in the hopes of influencing thier baby in utero...

Source: Review Copy

Popular posts from this blog

Fox + Chick: The Sleepover and Other Stories by Sergio Ruzzier

Be a Tree! by Maria Gianferrari illustrated by Felicita Sala

Reading Levels: A Quick Guide to Determining if a Book Is Right for Your Reader