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Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Penny & Jelly Slumber Under the Stars, written by Maria Gianferrari and illustrated by Thyra Heder. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Raincoast. 2016. $23.99 ages 5 and up

"Tomorrow is Sleepover Under the Stars Night, Jelly!" To prepare, Penny and Jelly watched constellations beam down from her bedroom ceiling. The Big Dipper flashed. The Pleiades, those Seven Sisters, sparkled. The Dog Star, Sirius, shined. The brightest in the night sky, it was Penny and Jelly's favorite."

As we say goodbye to summer skies and welcome the harvest moon, all thoughts of a sleepover under the stars must be quickly forgotten. Luckily, Penny's invitation comes at the height of summer when excitement for sleeping under the stars is almost more than a little girl can stand. To say she is disappointed to learn that Jelly is not invited is an understatement. 

Penny and Jelly have much knowledge of the summer sky, after studying the constellations on her bedroom ceiling. Determined to feel Jelly's presence at the event, she attempts to make a stand-in for him. She does her best, but nothing can compare to her much loved pet. Paper is no match for his soft body, nor is yarn, and certainly not fleece. Not one to give up, Penny tries everything. Nothing is just right.

Her solution to the dilemma is perfect, and will be much appreciated by all pet-loving readers.

Thyra Heder's accompanying illustrations are pitch perfect, and sure to encourage listeners to take an interest in the night sky. They will also inspire them to get out their art supplies to see if they can make a reasonable facsimile of their own pets. Terrific fun!

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