Penny and Her Song
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A Lot or a Little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Penny and Her Song is a realistic slice-of-life story showing how difficult it is for a kid to wait to share a creative achievement with her family. Author-illustrator Kevin Henkes, who won a Caldecott Award for Kitten's First Full Moon, a Caldecott Medal for Owen, and a Newbery Award for Olive's Ocean, has created an appealing female character with spunk, but who is not petulant like the popular pig of the Olivia series. Penny takes no for an answer without going into a snit or throwing a tantrum, and is rewarded with her parents' full attention when they set aside some family time after dinner for her to shine. A soft Penny doll is also available, and may prove irresistible.
We read this book in my first grade class together. The students enjoyed it and sang enthusiastically during the song. They enjoyed having a song inside the book. This book gets you excited when Penny has to wait so long to sing to her family. When they finally sing together, it's exciting. The students were able to relate to Penny because they have to wait sometimes.
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What's the Story?
Cute and creative mouse Penny comes home from school anxious to sing her new song to her family, but Mama and Papa make her wait, first so as not to wake her baby siblings, then until after dinner. While Penny waits, she thinks up ways to entertain herself. Then finally, when the time is right, she sings her song, and the whole family sings along and joins in the fun.
Is It Any Good?
PENNY AND HER SONG works as both a delightful read-along and an engaging early reader, with its short chapters and simple text. Award-winning author-illustrator Kevin Henkes has created an appealing, spunky female character and a realistic, positive portrayal of family dynamics in a busy household where family members have different, sometimes conflicting, needs. Henke's pastel-palette illustrations are super cute, and Penny is reminiscent, in appearance and impatience, of the star of Henkes' bestselling Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about how tough it is to be told you have to wait -- for anything! What do you find particularly hard to wait for?
Is it fair for Penny' parents to make her wait from afternoon until after dinner to sing her song?
Have you read any picture books by this author? How do you think this chapter book compares? Is he still using art to tell his story?
- Author: Kevin Henkes
- Illustrator: Kevin Henkes
- Genre: Family Life
- Topics: Cats, Dogs, and Mice, Great Girl Role Models, Music and Sing-Along
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Greenwillow Books
- Publication date: February 28, 2012
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 4 - 8
- Last updated: July 12, 2017
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