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Henkes ups the emotional stakes in his third book starring Lily, in which guilt hangs heavily over the young mouse. Lily is instantly smitten with the blue marble she discovers on a neighbor's lawn, and she sneaks it into her pocket. Her backward-glancing eyes as she runs home clue readers in that she's ambivalent about her decision, something she considers for the next few chapters. Henkes crystallizes the way guilt worms its way into the mind of someone who suspects she's in the wrong, while putting his heroine at ease in the final pages. Ages 4-8. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.
*Starred Review* One morning, while pushing her doll's stroller past Mrs. Goodwin's house, Penny spies a big, sky-blue marble in her neighbor's grass. After checking that no one is watching, she puts it in her pocket. Back at home, she enjoys playing with her new treasure until she sees Mrs. Goodwin in her yard exactly where Penny had found the marble. Suddenly Penny feels uncomfortable. That feeling grows, making it hard for her to eat or sleep. The next morning, after putting the marble back where she found it, she learns that her neighbor had placed it there in hopes that someone would find and love it. When Penny accepts the marble from Mrs. Goodwin and thanks her, all is well. Through his narratives, Henkes conveys shades of emotions that are common to the human experience yet hard to express in words. It's particularly impressive that he can do so in a book for beginning readers. Told in short sentences and simple words with a natural cadence, the story lays out a moral dilemma, lets the heroine find her own solution, and concludes with a reassuringly good outcome. Expressive ink-and-watercolor illustrations complement the text on every page. This small-scale yet immensely satisfying drama is a fine addition to the Penny series. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Henkes's second book for beginning readers is sure to be as well received as his first, Penny and Her Song (2012).--Phelan, Carolyn Copyright 2010 Booklist
School Library Journal
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PreS-Gr 2-In the latest installment in the series, the young mouse is pushing her doll's stroller down the block when she spies a marble on her neighbor's lawn. After furtively looking around, Penny drops it in her pocket and races home. At first she delights in her new treasure, enjoying how smooth it feels between her fingers and how fast it rolls across the floor, but then she is overcome with guilt for taking something that doesn't belong to her. Henkes's nuanced watercolor and ink illustrations capture the shame-filled mouse hiding behind curtains. As she continues to worry, she loses her appetite: "The oranges in the bowl looked like big orange marbles. The peas on her plate looked like little green marbles." After a dream-filled night, Penny decides to put the marble back where she found it. When confronted by Mrs. Goodwin, Penny's "cheeks were hot. She could not speak," but her kind neighbor reassures her that she put the marble on the grass hoping someone would pick it up. Readers will empathize with Penny and her conflicted emotions. The short sentences with plenty of repetition and superb pacing make this title perfect for beginning readers. A treasure.-Linda Ludke, London Public Library, Ontario, Canada (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.