Hello, friends! Our book today is Clueless: A Totally Classic Picture Book, adapted by G. M. Berrow and illustrated by Heather Burns, a kidlit tribute to the popular teen movie of the same name.
Cher and Dionne are the most popular, fashionable girls at Bronson Alcott Elementary – they know all the right looks, all the cool people, and all the trendiest hobbies. So when new girl Tai comes to school and they notice how nervous, out of place, and “clueless” she feels, Cher and Dionne decide to help her out. They take Tai shopping to help her find a new look, then they and their friends show her all the hobbies that the cool kids do. And while Tai appreciates their efforts, she still feels out of place, preferring her old style and hobbies. Perhaps Cher and Dionne need a makeover of their own, and learn how to accept their friend for who she is…
There’s been a fun trend of picture book adaptations of adult media lately, with admittedly mixed results. Some work spectacularly, some not as much; this effort falls somewhere in middle. There’s a distinct oddity to the VERY teenage themes of the Clueless film being shoehorned into elementary-age characters, especially for adult readers who are familiar with the source material. However, Cher and Dionne’s obsession with fashion and popularity is not much different than other kidlit characters geared towards little girls, and the main themes of this adaptation are surprisingly sound. There’s a nice lesson in appreciating people for who they are and the things they love, regardless of how different or unfashionable they may be (Tai is far more comfortable with her flannels and skateboarding than the trendier activities, but is happy to spend time with her new friends once they realize and embrace this). The cartoon illustrations are colorful and fun, and feature plenty of nods and winks to older fans of the movie. The length is fine, though the pace is uneven; it took a while for JJ to invest in the story, but she enjoyed the ending. An uneven adaptation, but one that’s full of heart. Overall, we liked it – like, totally Baby Bookworm approved.
(TM & © 2020 Paramount Pictures. All Rights Reserved. Note: A copy of this book was provided to The Baby Bookworm by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.)