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Sunday, September 6, 2015

Penny & Jelly: The School Show, written by Maria Gianferrari and illustrated by Thyra Heder. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Thomas Allen & Son, 2015. $21.99 ages 4 and up

"I need a talent now!"
said Penny.

"Ruff-roo-roo!" barked Jelly.

"Ooh! I'll be a magician -
the Amazing Penny, " said
Penny, "and you'll be my
trusty assistant!"
Penny pulled Jelly out of
a hat. Sort of."

I know that I mentioned Thyra Heder's glorious artwork when I told you about Fraidyzoo. She adds an extra element of charm to this appealing school story. The place is Peabody Elementary School. The event is an upcoming talent show. The concern belongs to Penny who cannot name a talent that might get her a place on stage.  Every one of her classmates is participating; they spend all their spare time practicing.

Although Penny cannot come up with a sure-fire talent, she does have many ideas. Each of those ideas is listed, and then stroked off the list when she proves inept at the talent she has chosen to display. Jelly, her dog, is beside her every step of the way, encouraging and assisting when he can.
After every single thing she lists defeats her, Penny crosses the show off her list. She doesn't want to be embarrassed. Only when she feels totally beaten does Jelly show what they are best at ... together!

Will you be surprised to learn what that is? I wonder.

Thyra Heder captures school life brilliantly, using spot illustrations and bright whites for her backgrounds. There is so much to see in the images she creates. Discussions are sure to accompany sharing this disarming story.

1 comment:

  1. I just came across this, Sal--thank you for thoughtful comments! I love Thyra's art too, and feel so lucky that she is the illustrator for both Penny & Jelly books. There's a follow up, Penny & Jelly Slumber Under the Stars, which will release in June. I love her art and the color palette for this book even more, and I'm sure you will too!

    Be sure to read her latest book, The Bear Report--stunning and gorgeous art and a sweet story too.

    Maria Gianferrari :)