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Children's LiteraturePenelope's plans for summer vacation are turned upside down when her mother must join her father's research expedition in Hawaii. Penelope goes across the bay, from Berkeley to San Francisco, to stay with unpleasant Aunt Phyllis, Uncle Henry, and her three cousins. Aunt Phyllis is determined to tame the spirited Penny with comportment lessons, and her aunt certainly will not tolerate Penny's dream of becoming an actress. The tension between Aunt Phyllis and Penny will have readers rooting for Penny every step of the way. When Penny discovers that she lives next door to real actors, her conversations with Mr. Prenderwinkel bolster her dream. Mr. Prenderwinkel is on stage in a Shakespearean play, and Penny is playing Juliet in a class program, unbeknownst to Aunt Phyllis. The story is set in the late 1800s, and historical details are woven nicely throughout the plot, lending authenticity to the characters and the setting. Short chapters and lots of action keep the story moving, right up to the ending that provides a satisfying resolution for each character. 2006, Marshall Cavendish, Ages 9 to 12.