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Friday, April 26, 2013

Penny and Her Marble, written and illustrated by Kevin Henkes. Harper, 2013. $14.99 ages 5 and up

"Penny looked around.
No one was watching.
Penny picked up the marble.
She put the marble
in her pocket.

Then Penny raced home
with Rose.

Penny and Rose are back, and their young fans will be delighted. The two love being outside. Penny is allowed to walk Rose up and down the sidewalk, so long as they don't go any further than Mrs. Goodwin's house. Penny is satisfied with that. Rose is happy to pretend that they are walking in a big city, or through the forest, or even flying in a plane.

One bright and sunny morning while out for their daily constitutional, Penny spies something bright and shiny sitting at the edge of Mrs. Goodwin's lawn. It's a very tempting blue marble; finally, she picks it up and puts it in her pocket.

Then, she must live with the guilt of taking something that does not belong to her:

"Mrs. Goodwin was in
her yard.
Mrs. Goodwin was exactly
where Penny had found
the marble.
Penny hid
behind the curtain.
Was Mrs. Goodwin
looking for the marble?"

Kevin Henkes is incredibly adept at creating the world of the young child. I remain as in awe now as I was when I read All Alone in 1981. I haven't missed one since then, and it is wonderful that he is still able to capture the feelings of ones so young and vulnerable. Each of his illustrations is a careful study, allowing young readers to ponder the action, the feelings and the outcome. The clues they provide to the story line are sure to help them gain mastery over the text.

I love Penny as I have loved  Bailey, Bo, Owen, Lily, Chrysanthemum, Jessica, Julius and his many other wonderfully imagined characters. Thank you, Kevin Henkes for these treasures.

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