In the second comic book-style title to star brother and sister mice Benny and Penny, the fussy duo track down a mysterious "new kid" who may have climbed over the fence into their yard and stolen Benny's pail (a "no-no"). But when they meet the culprit (a mole in a polka-dot dress, green flippers and goggles), they re-evaluate the situation. Thought bubbles and dynamic expressions make the simple story come to life; early readers will easily identify the emotional states of the three characters and predict the playful outcomes. Ages 4-up. (May)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Children's Literature - Kathie M. Josephs
Benny and his sister Penny have a dilemma. Benny thinks his new neighbor came over to his yard and stole his sand pail. Of course, everyone knows that it is a big no-no to sneak into someone's yard, but Benny thinks he and his sister have no other choice if he wants his pail back. Once in the neighbor's yard, he is sure he will find his pail. After climbing the fence, Benny and Penny see muddy footprints and believe that the prints were made by a monster. The plot thickens. From behind some bushes, they see a little girl hedgehog dressed rather strangely. She sees that one of her mud pies is broken and blames the birds. She hears a noise in the bushes and tells them to come out. Instead, mud is thrown at her. More trouble occurs, until Benny and his sister run off with his sand pailor so they think. It is truly comical to see how a series of innocent events turns three young children into skeptics who have no trust. Of course, everyone becomes new best friends. Each child learns an important lesson about life. This is a delightful story, and the illustrations add much interest. Each page is filled with funny drawings where some of the facial expressions can make the reader laugh out loud. This graphic novel is a great way to get young children interested in reading. Reviewer: Kathie M. Josephs
School Library Journal
Bliss has created an ideal graphic novel for emerging readers. While his dad is engaged in "boring talk" with a friend, Luke notices a flock of pigeons and chases after them. The birds lead him out of Central Park through Manhattan and across the Brooklyn Bridge to a quiet rooftop. The cartoon panels are so successful at engaging readers that young children do not have to be able to read the text to enjoy the story. Each drawing is filled with humorous details. In one scene children see a man proposing to his girlfriend before Luke leaps over his café table. Though he creates havoc wherever he goes, he remains oblivious to everything but the pigeons he is chasing. Children will enjoy his rambunctious adventure as he takes them on a spirited tour of New York City. In Benny and Penny , the children are suspicious that their new neighbor has stolen Benny's pail, so they sneak into her yard even though they know it's a "big no-no!" Through many misunderstandings, they learn to apologize and make a new friend. The simple text uses basic vocabulary and repetition, making it accessible to emerging readers. Young children will love the graphic-novel format and the sweet, charming illustrations will draw them into the narrative. Fans of Geoffrey Hayes's popular Benny and Penny: Just Pretend (Toon Bks., 2008) won't be disappointed with this sequel.-Mari Pongkhamsing, St. Perpetua School, Lafayette, CA
When fractious mouse siblings Benny and Penny observe that a new neighbor has moved in next door, curiosity leads them into a big no-no: climbing the fence to see if perhaps the newcomer may have stolen Benny's missing pail. The neighbor has curious footprints; might it be a monster? Hayes psychologically develops the suburban jungle masterfully, with a keen understanding that, to the small child, next door is as exotic as Inner Mongolia. His sunny, detailed scenes tell the story in sequential panels, punctuated by the children's tearful outbursts, as stormy and temporary as summer showers. The illustrations provide just enough visual storytelling to allow emergent readers to focus on the dialogue, rendered in speech balloons, the standard vocabulary of preschoolers exactly in tune with readers' capabilities: "You can't just TAKE stuff," Benny says as he climbs; "Uh-oh! This [mud pie] on the end is all broken!" exclaims the neighbor monster. Benny and Penny make agreeable protagonists, all sibling-squabbling when they're on their own but uniting against the depredations of the "monster" and doing the right thing when it's called for. (Graphic early reader. 5-8)