School Library Journal
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K-Gr 2-In this mild, two-chapter tale for beginning readers, Henkes once again touches on the challenges of being an older sibling. Penny is a young mouse bursting to sing a song to her parents that she has just learned at school. But disappointingly, every time she begins to sing, her parents ask her to stop. "'Your song is beautiful,' said Mama, 'but you will wake up the babies." Singing to herself in the mirror or to her glass animals just isn't the same, so Penny tries again at dinner. "'Not at the table,' said Mama. 'After dinner,' said Papa." Finally, before bed, Penny gets her chance to perform. The whole family joins in and soon discovers that the youngster's song has helped lull the babies to sleep. The narrative here is light on drama and character growth. Penny is neither as charismatic nor immediately lovable as some of Henkes's other, well-known protagonists. However, families seeking easy vocabulary and an old-fashioned story with positive, sass-free family interactions will appreciate this gentle read. Pastel-hued watercolor and ink illustrations of Penny and her smiling mouse family (done in classic Henkes style) brighten each otherwise clean, white page. Fans of the author who have graduated to independent-reader status will be glad to see his familiar hand at work on the easy-reader shelves.-Jayne Damron, Farmington Community Library, MI (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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Henkes (Little White Rabbit) introduces a musical mouse who must wait for the right moment to share her talent with her family. When Penny walks in the door, ready to belt out the counting song she learned at school, her mother gently quiets her. "Your song is beautiful," says Mama, "but you will wake the babies." Penny gets the same reaction from her father, and she fidgets until mealtime. At the table, her parents ask her to hold off again. Finally, the whole family gathers for Penny's solo, a catchy rhyme from one to 10. Henkes gives Penny a whole spread to herself, allowing her time in the spotlight. Mama, Papa, and the babies smile and join in for subsequent performances, an activity that has the welcome effect of helping Penny's younger siblings fall asleep. Much as he did in Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse, Henkes presents an irrepressible heroine who struggles to compromise. Through measured characterizations, Henkes helps readers understand why Penny must be patient. Just as important, he models how parents can respond thoughtfully to an attention-seeking sibling. Ages 4-8. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.
*Starred Review* Penny, a little mouse girl, has a song in her heart. Well, it's not just in her heart, because as soon as she comes home from school, she wants to belt it out loud: One is nice, two is nice. But Mama and Papa are concerned that Penny's song will wake up the babies. She tries singing to herself and to her glass animals, but what fun is that? Penny gives her song a go at dinner; her parents insist it will have to wait. Finally, in front of her folks and the twins, Penny gets to sing about one and two being nice ( three is even better ); four and five are also nice ( six in rain is wetter ). Seven and eight: nice as well. Nine? Almost best. But ten is even bigger, and is better than the rest. So much praise is heaped on Penny that she sings the song again. And here is where Henkes has his finger on the pulse of families: on the next go-around the whole family joins in, which provokes Mama and Papa to put on costumes and dance. Finally, everyone is exhausted, and the singing has put the babies to sleep. The text, with its frustrations and joys, is perfect for new readers, and Henkes' familiar artwork has its share of warm moments. This early reader captures the way families make memories at unexpected moments. Welcome Penny to the cast. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Any new book by Caldecott-winning Henkes is cause for anticipation, and this one even more so as it marks the first time he has written for beginning readers.--Cooper, Ilene Copyright 2010 Booklist