What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Penelope Crumb explores family issues affecting a 9-year-old whose father died when she was a baby (before the book begins). A school assignment to create a family coat of arms contributes to the imaginative, strong-willed girl's decision to find a long-lost relative. Told in the voice of a fourth grader, the novel addresses issues of acceptance -- of self and of flawed family members -- but maintains a childlike, humorous tone. Penelope Crumb also takes an entertaining look at sibling rivalry, honesty, and friendship. Penelope is accidentally injured (not seriously) in one incident, and she repeatedly disobeys her mother and skips school to pursue her search.
What's the story?
PENELOPE CRUMB is the name of Shawn K. Stout's latest middle-grade novel, and the name of the book's 9-year-old narrator, whose father died when she was a baby. When the book begins, a school art project shows something that Penelope finds unsettling: She has a large nose. Her mother later helps her gain perspective by showing her photos of other family members with the same characteristic. This is when Penelope learns that a family member whom she thought was dead -- like her dad -- is probably still alive. Another school assignment, to investigate her ancestors and create a Crumb coat of arms, inspires her to track down her long-lost relative, who she's sure can help her understand what belongs on her family crest.
Is it any good?
Penelope Crumb suffers mildly from a common problem that occurs when adults write in a kid's voice: The character seems a little too self-aware to be a real 9-year-old. However, the family issues in this novel are addressed with great sensitivity, particularly Penelope's mother's feelings, and the mother-daughter parts are moving. The book also includes funny, believable interactions between Penelope and her teen brother, Terrence (whom she calls "Terrible"), and makes clever, poignant connections between family history and self-acceptance.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about family history and Penelope's coat of arms. What would you put on a coat of arms for your family?
Do you think Penelope sounds like a real fourth grader? What other books about fourth graders have you read?
Penelope skips school and disobeys her mom to look for Felix. Did she do the right thing?
|Author:||Shawn K. Stout|
|Topics:||Adventures, Brothers and sisters, Friendship, History|
|Publication date:||August 2, 2012|
|Number of pages:||128|
|Publisher's recommended age(s):||7 - 10|
|Read aloud:||8 - 10|
|Read alone:||8 - 10|
|Available on:||Hardback, iBooks, Kindle, Nook, Paperback|