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Penelope Jane: A Fairy's Tale
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Penelope Jane: A Fairy's Tale

3.6 3
by Rosanne Cash, G. Brian Karas (Illustrator)
 

Tall as an eyelash,
quick as a plane
was the tiniest fairy,
Penelope Jane.

Penelope Jane de la Fesser, a flying French fairy, is just the perfect size to live in the right-hand dresser drawer of her very best friend, five-year-old Carrie. When this eyelash-fall fairy decides one day to go to school with Carrie, she doesn't let her tiny size stand

Overview

Tall as an eyelash,
quick as a plane
was the tiniest fairy,
Penelope Jane.

Penelope Jane de la Fesser, a flying French fairy, is just the perfect size to live in the right-hand dresser drawer of her very best friend, five-year-old Carrie. When this eyelash-fall fairy decides one day to go to school with Carrie, she doesn't let her tiny size stand in the way of getting into some really big trouble! But when the whole school is suddenly in danger, Penelope Jane musters a lion's share of courage in order to save the day.

This deluxe book-and-CD package features the original song "How to Be Strong," written and performed by Grammy Award-winning singer Rosanne Cash. Quirky, energetic illustrations by award-winning artist G. Brian Karas bring to life the mountains of fun packed info this story about the smallest of heroines.

Author Biography: Rosanne Cash is a Grammy Award-winning singer and songwriter who has released ten record albums over the post twenty years, which have charted eleven number-one singles and earned numerous accolades for songwriting and performance. Her first book, Bodies of Water, was published in 1995 to widespread critical acclaim. Her essays and fiction have appeared in The New York Times, The Oxford-American, and various other periodicals and collections. She also teaches a songwriting workshop. Penelope Jane: A Fairy's Tale is her first book for children. Ms. Cash lives in New York City with her husband, John Leventhal, and her children.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Karas's (Home on the Bayou) animated illustrations save the day for Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter Cash's first children's book, told in unaccomplished rhyming text. Penelope Jane is a tiny French fairy ("Tall as an eyelash/ quick as a plane") who lives with her fairy mom in five-year-old Carrie's top dresser drawer. Tired of studying fairy rules at her own tiny school, Penelope Jane decides to stow away on Carrie's shoulder and explore human-size academia. A string of classroom mishaps earns Penelope Jane time in the corner, feeling horribly out of place. But before things get too sad, Penelope Jane turns into a hero. Inspired by Cash's song "How to Be Strong" (attributed in the story to Penelope Jane's mother), the little fairy's confidence and quick thinking help prevent a fire emergency. The text sometimes stumbles to accommodate the rhyming couplet format, and the language lacks luster ("Our wild little fairy felt sorry and sad./ She slunk to the corner; she knew she'd been bad"). Fortunately, Karas's childlike gouache-and-pencil scenes add some oomph. His views of tiny flitting fairies sitting at their acorn desks, Carrie's frazzled teacher and the bemused classroom pet Mr. Turtle emphasize motion and just a little mischief. A CD recording of "How to Be Strong" is included. Ages 4-8. (May) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|
Children's Literature
This rollicking rhyme is about a tiny French fairy who lives with her mother in a drawer in fiveyearold Carrie's dresser (which is supposed to rhyme with Penelope Jane de la Fesser, but does so only if you Anglicize the pronunciation of the French name). Grammy awardwinner Cash's first picture book is accompanied by a tiny CD with her new song, "How to Be Strong." Threetofives will probably enjoy it, but I had problems with such lines as "One day when Carrie was skipping to school/ She felt on her shoulder a droplet of drool" to announce that P.J. had decided to accompany Carrie to school. Since this isn't a "gross/yuck" type book, why force a rhyme like this? Later, the teacher becomes annoyed with her antics and says, "...You are a pain! / Go sit in the corner, Penelope Jane!" which is a good rhyme but a poor model: a teacher labeling a child (or a fairy). I won't even get into the class going outside to recess while P.J. is left indoors alone, which is how she discovers the situation that makes her a heroine. And then we have the coup de grace with "Penelope's mom baked a thousand croissants / and handed them out at the press conference" where the French pronunciation is required (and so designated by italics) for a perfectly ordinary English word. This writer needs to get her act together, especially since her song is well done, worthwhile and easy to learn, and the pictures are really cute. 2000, HarperCollins/Joanna Cotler, Ages 4 to 8, $15.95. Reviewer: Judy Chernak
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 1-Penelope Jane is an eyelash-high fairy who lives with her mother in a dresser drawer in five-year-old Carrie's bedroom. Though she attends fairy school, her visit to the little girl's classroom is less than successful. "She dive-bombed the turtle./She pestered the fish./She logrolled the chalk./She danced in a dish." Ordered to the corner by the frazzled teacher, the little sprite is resigned to spending lunchtime alone, but when a fire breaks out, she recalls a song that her mother wrote, "How to Be Strong," that empowers her to summon help. The story is told in rhymes, some of which are weak and forced, and its logic is at times shaky. The book includes a CD of the song recorded by Cash; the words and music are included at the back of the book. Karas's zippy cartoonlike illustrations help anchor the story: Penelope Jane is a sturdy creature with bobbed brown hair and practical play clothes. There are lots of nifty details, such as the little yellow mustard tracks P.J. leaves behind after managing to snarl herself up in a sandwich. A pleasant, appealing book, but one that has stronger art than story.-Donna L. Scanlon, Lancaster County Library, PA Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780060842307
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
08/01/2006
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
32
Product dimensions:
9.80(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.20(d)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

Meet the Author

Rosanne Cash is a Grammy Award-winning singer and songwriter who has released ten record albums over the post twenty years, which have charted eleven number-one singles and earned numerous accolades for songwriting and performance. Her first book, Bodies of Water, was published in 1995 to widespread critical acclaim. Her essays and fiction have appeared in The New York Times, The Oxford-American, and various other periodicals and collections. She also teaches a songwriting workshop. Penelope Jane: A Fairy's Tale is her first book for children. Ms. Cash lives in New York City with her husband, John Leventhal, and her children.

G. Brian Karas has written and illustrated several award-winning children's books, including On Earth and Home on the Bayou: A Cowboy's Story, a Boston Globe–Horn Book Honor Book. The picture books he has illustrated include Are You Going to Be Good?, a New York Times Best Illustrated Book written by Cari Best. Mr. Karas lives in Rhinebeck, New York.

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Penelope Jane 3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
LovelyLitLady More than 1 year ago
So my 3 year old loved this book when I read it to her yesterday. I have to admit that I was in love with Penelope after reading it, too. The descriptions are sweet (fairy as tall as an eye lash) and the rhyme is endearing (sometimes too much rhyme in children's books can be rather obnoxious). It offered great mini lessons in French, too! "Seven Croissants was their favorite treat"...
Anonymous More than 1 year ago