Friday, November 5, 2010

Penny Dreadful

Penelope is bored with her life and looking for some excitement to liven up her days. Sure, her family is rich and they live in a beautiful house and have enough money for Penelope to be taught at home by a (boring) tutor and have all the book she could dream of, but she is just completely void of all fun and joy. She doesn't have any friends, and her parents are busy all the time. After making a wish in an old well, Penelope is shocked to learn that her father has quit his job, opting instead to stay home and write a novel. At first a welcomed change, the family soon goes through all their money and is forced to move to a house Penelope's mom has inherited way out in the country.

A new house, new town, and new neighbors and friends all enter Penelope's boring world and quickly turn it into anything but boring! Beginning with a name change from Penelope to Penny, she starts to get used to small-town life, while making friends with her quirky neighbors, looking for buried treasure, and most importantly, helping her family to understand what truly matters in life. 

I loved the quirkiness of the story and the beautiful pencil drawings that occasionally pop up throughout the pages. The beginning of the story was a bit slow, but once Penelope's family made it to their new place, things picked up and really got moving. I also really enjoyed the inclusion of a child's worry about her parents' financial situation. Children are not immune to worry about money (I certainly wasn't when I was younger) and it was great to see it written in the manner that it was. 

Great characterization, a wonderful sense of diversity, and just a "cozy" feeling overall. You'll want to read this one with the whole family! Perfect for fans of The Penderwicks or Because of Winn-Dixie

Penny Dreadful
Laurel Snyder
320 pages
Middle Grade
Random House
978-0375861994
September 2010
Review copy provided by publisher

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