Review of Penny and Her Marble, by Kevin Henkes

Penny and Her Marble

by Kevin Henkes

Greenwillow Books, 2013. 48 pages.

Hooray! Another Penny book for beginning readers! In fact, this book, with four chapters, assumes a progression in reading skills. We have Penny pushing her doll in a stroller — the same doll she received and named in Penny and Her Doll.

Penny finds a marble in Mrs. Goodwin’s yard. She picks it up and keeps it. It’s a beautiful marble, as blue as a piece of the sky.

But Penny is eaten up with guilt. Will Mrs. Goodwin be angry with her for taking the marble?

All ends happily. Spoiler alert: Mrs. Goodwin put the marble on her lawn, hoping Penny would find it and take it.

I didn’t like this story nearly as well as the others. In fact, it made me mad at Mrs. Goodwin. Why didn’t she give the marble to Penny in the first place, for heaven’s sake? All that agony of guilt was completely unnecessary and what kind of adult would give a marble to a child by placing it in her lawn anyway?

But aside from that annoyance with the storyline, this book has the same charmingly realistic child behavior. Kevin Henkes never says Penny feels guilty. Instead he tells that she looks around before she puts the marble in her pocket, races home, goes in her room and shuts the door, and hides behind the curtain when she sees Mrs. Goodwin in her yard. Penny isn’t hungry and even dreams about Mrs. Goodwin and the marble that night.

Fortunately, Penny decides to make things right before Mrs. Goodwin makes the speech she should have made in the first place. But it’s all told in a simple story that gives new readers plenty of repeated words and visual clues.

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Source: This review is based on a library book from the Fairfax County Public Library.

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