Thursday, March 15, 2012

Penny and Her Song, by Kevin Henkes - a delight for new readers (ages 5 - 7)

Today I shared with my students books that make me smile. There is an utter loveliness to books that bring us a simple smile. They may not be hilarious books, but they fill us with warmth, with a small moment that brightens our day. Penny and Her Song is just the sort of lovely book that will bring a smile to the face of a beginning reader.

Penny and Her Song
by Kevin Henkes
NY: HarperCollins, 2012
ages 5 - 7
available from your local library, favorite bookstore and on Amazon
Penny comes home from school one day with a smile on her face. She has made up her very own song, and can't wait to share it with her family. But Mama and Papa tell her she mustn't wake up the babies. So Penny goes to her room and sings to herself in the mirror - but she really just wants someone to listen to her. At dinner, Penny tries to sing again, but her parents ask her to wait until after everyone eats. Finally, Penny sings her special song for the whole family. Her parents adore the song, and then everyone joins in, singing Penny's song.

Young children will delight in Kevin Henkes' first book for beginning readers. They will relate to Penny and the way she just wants her parents to listen to her. But most of all, they will delight in singing Penny's song themselves, in bringing alive Henkes' simple words. The illustrations, in softly bright watercolors and clear black ink, support the text on each page. The variety of spot art, half page boxes, and some sequential small boxes adds variety, integrating the illustrations with the text. While Penny will remind readers of Henkes' outgoing Lily, Penny is her own character, singing her own song.

This book is perfect for new readers who enjoy simple, sweet family stories. It has delighted several of our 1st graders. I just wish I could capture the way they sang Penny's song for themselves. This won't draw readers who want a big laugh or lots of action, but for a quiet kid it will bring a lot of pleasure.

Head over to Mr. Schu's blog Watch.Connect.Read to learn much more about Kevin Henkes and his writing process. Listen to Kevin Henkes talk about Penny here (link courtesy of Mr. Schu):

The review copy was kindly sent by the publishers, HarperCollins, to the Association of Children's Librarians of Northern California, for review in BayViews. This is an excellent review journal, if you are a librarian looking for a dependable source of independent review. If you make a purchase using the Amazon links on this site, a small portion goes to Great Kid Books (at no cost to you!). Thank you for your support.

Review ©2012 Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books


  1. I just wanted to share with everyone a great website I discovered the other day. They offer downloads of classic fairy tales with fantastic images and entertaining narration and character acting. Not only do my kids love them, but I find them enjoyable as well. These timeless stories can be downloaded to computer or mobile device and they are very inexpensive. They gave me a coupon code to be shared. Enter 10off at download.

  2. You had me with the cover. Kevin Henkes is very good at what he does. Thanks for the recommendation.
    Apples with Many Seeds