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Penny and Her Marble

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Overview

In the third easy-to-read book about Penny the mouse, written by Caldecott Medalist and bestselling author Kevin Henkes, Penny finds a beautiful marble on her neighbor's lawn and must decide whether or not to keep it. With age-appropriate vocabulary, compelling characters, and a memorable storyline, Penny and her Marble is just right for beginning readers and was named a 2014 Geisel Honor book by the American Library Association. This annual award, given to the most distinguished books for beginning readers, is ...

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Overview

In the third easy-to-read book about Penny the mouse, written by Caldecott Medalist and bestselling author Kevin Henkes, Penny finds a beautiful marble on her neighbor's lawn and must decide whether or not to keep it. With age-appropriate vocabulary, compelling characters, and a memorable storyline, Penny and her Marble is just right for beginning readers and was named a 2014 Geisel Honor book by the American Library Association. This annual award, given to the most distinguished books for beginning readers, is named for the world-renowned children's author Theodor Geisel, also known as Dr. Seuss.

Kevin Henkes is known for his mouse characters, including Lilly, Owen, Chrysanthemum, Wemberly, and now Penny! In Penny and her Marble, the third book in the Penny series, Penny finds a marble on Mrs. Goodwin's yard and takes it home. But does the marble really belong to Penny? Kevin Henkes is a master at creating beautifully illustrated books that resonate with young children. The Penny books are new classics for beginning readers and will appeal to fans of Frog and Toad, Little Bear, and Henry and Mudge.

A 2014 Theodor Seuss Geisel Honor Book

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Editorial Reviews

Horn Book (starred review)
Praise for Penny and Her Song:“Henkes strikes all the right notes. . . . Language, art, characterization, and plot are all executed, like Penny’s song, beautifully.”
Booklist (starred review)
“The text . . . is perfect for new readers, and Henkes’s familiar artwork has its share of warm moments. This early reader captures the way families make memories at unexpected moments. Welcome Penny to the cast.”
Washington Post
“Carefully sequenced panels, expressive lines and gentle pastels lead the reader to the story’s joyous resolution.”
New York Times Book Review
“Splendid . . . Henkes so completely understands the minds of small children. . . . His vivacious panels always seem to burst with springtime. It’s hard to imagine anything ever going too wrong in one of his sensitive, generous portrayals. Everything here ends just right.”
The New York Times - Pamela Paul
Henkes so completely understands the minds of small children. He so charmingly depicts them as mice. His vivacious panels always seem to burst with springtime.
Publishers Weekly
Henkes ups the emotional stakes in his third book starring Penny, in which guilt hangs heavily over the young mouse. Penny is instantly smitten with the blue marble she discovers on a neighbor’s lawn, and she sneaks it into her pocket. Her backward-glancing eyes as she runs home clue readers in that she’s ambivalent about her decision, something she considers for the next few chapters. Henkes crystallizes the way guilt worms its way into the mind of someone who suspects she’s in the wrong, while putting his heroine at ease in the final pages. Ages 4–8. (Feb.)
Horn Book
"Impeccable. . . . Respect for the beginning reader’s emerging skills beautifully matches Henkes’s respect for Penny ."
Booklist
"The text . . . is perfect for new readers, and Henkes’s familiar artwork has its share of warm moments. This early reader captures the way families make memories at unexpected moments. Welcome Penny to the cast."
Children's Literature - Amy McMillan
Lovable Penny is back and this time she learns about being honest. Taking her doll, Rose, for a stroll Penny finds a beautiful blue marble and decides to take it home. But the guilt of it not really being her marble weighs on poor Penny until she cannot eat or sleep. Late at night when she finally does sleep she dreams her angry neighbor comes pounding on the door looking for her lost marble. The next day she ventures out into the neighborhood, again with a mission. As she is returning the marble to where she found it her neighbor spots her and tells her she had put the marble out hoping Penny would find it. This time Penny takes it home with a clear conscience. Penny's third adventure is pitch perfect: a non-preachy lesson about honesty—a great conversation starter. Henke's charming illustrations are recognizable and familiar to anyone growing up with Sheila Rae or Lily. His pastel palette is cheery and will appeal to girls beginning to read on their own. Reviewer: Amy McMillan
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2—In the latest installment in the series, the young mouse is pushing her doll's stroller down the block when she spies a marble on her neighbor's lawn. After furtively looking around, Penny drops it in her pocket and races home. At first she delights in her new treasure, enjoying how smooth it feels between her fingers and how fast it rolls across the floor, but then she is overcome with guilt for taking something that doesn't belong to her. Henkes's nuanced watercolor and ink illustrations capture the shame-filled mouse hiding behind curtains. As she continues to worry, she loses her appetite: "The oranges in the bowl looked like big orange marbles. The peas on her plate looked like little green marbles." After a dream-filled night, Penny decides to put the marble back where she found it. When confronted by Mrs. Goodwin, Penny's "cheeks were hot. She could not speak," but her kind neighbor reassures her that she put the marble on the grass hoping someone would pick it up. Readers will empathize with Penny and her conflicted emotions. The short sentences with plenty of repetition and superb pacing make this title perfect for beginning readers. A treasure.—Linda Ludke, London Public Library, Ontario, Canada
Kirkus Reviews
Whose marble is it? In this third early reader about a little anthropomorphic mouse named Penny, Henkes continues to plumb the emotional world of childhood as few author/illustrators can. The story begins with Penny taking a walk and pushing her beloved doll, Rose, in a stroller. She heeds Mama's admonition that she "[o]nly go as far as Mrs. Goodwin's house," and when she arrives there, she spies a shiny blue marble at the edge of the lawn. Though unsure whether she should do so, Penny pockets the glinting little orb and scurries home. Later, Penny's conscience bothers her, and the marble hidden in her drawer adopts a presence akin to Poe's telltale heart. She can't bring herself to tell her concerned parents what is bothering her, and after a fitful night's sleep, she goes for another walk to return the marble. Hoping to make a quick getaway after surreptitiously replacing it, Penny is worried when her neighbor approaches. Will Mrs. Goodwin be angry that she took the marble? As it turns out, Mrs. Goodwin purposefully put the marble on her lawn in the hope that someone would find it and take it home as a little treasure. Reassured, Penny thanks Mrs. Goodwin and walks home, imagining herself beside a sea as blue as her new marble. Henkes' characteristically meticulous vignettes both expand the story and provide picture clues to help new readers along. Another gem. (Early reader. 5-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780062082053
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 8/27/2013
  • Series: I Can Read Book 1 Series
  • Pages: 48
  • Sales rank: 28,987
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Lexile: 350L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.18 (d)

Meet the Author

Kevin Henkes

Kevin Henkes is the author and illustrator of close to fifty critically acclaimed and award-winning picture books, beginning readers, and novels. He received the Caldecott Medal for Kitten's First Full Moon in 2005. Kevin Henkes is also the creator of a number of picture books featuring his mouse characters, including the #1 New York Times bestsellers Lilly's Big Day and Wemberly Worried, the Caldecott Honor Book Owen, and the beloved Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse. His most recent mouse character, Penny, was introduced in Penny and Her Song (2012); her story continued in Penny and Her Doll and Penny and Her Marble (a Geisel Honor Book). Bruce Handy, in a New York Times Book Review piece about A Good Day, wrote, "It should be said: Kevin Henkes is a genius." Kevin Henkes received two Newbery Honors for novels—one for his newest novel for young readers, The Year of Billy Miller, and the other for Olive's Ocean. Also among his fiction for older readers are the novels Junonia, Bird Lake Moon, The Birthday Room, and Sun & Spoon. He lives with his family in Madison, Wisconsin.

Kevin Henkes is the author and illustrator of close to fifty critically acclaimed and award-winning picture books, beginning readers, and novels. He received the Caldecott Medal for Kitten's First Full Moon in 2005. Kevin Henkes is also the creator of a number of picture books featuring his mouse characters, including the #1 New York Times bestsellers Lilly's Big Day and Wemberly Worried, the Caldecott Honor Book Owen, and the beloved Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse. His most recent mouse character, Penny, was introduced in Penny and Her Song (2012); her story continued in Penny and Her Doll and Penny and Her Marble (a Geisel Honor Book). Bruce Handy, in a New York Times Book Review piece about A Good Day, wrote, "It should be said: Kevin Henkes is a genius." Kevin Henkes received two Newbery Honors for novels—one for his newest novel for young readers, The Year of Billy Miller, and the other for Olive's Ocean. Also among his fiction for older readers are the novels Junonia, Bird Lake Moon, The Birthday Room, and Sun & Spoon. He lives with his family in Madison, Wisconsin.

Biography

Kevin Henkes still owns some of his favorite books from childhood. "They're brimming with all the telltale signs of true love: dog-eared pages, fingerprints on my favorite illustrations, my name and address inscribed on both front and back covers in inch-high lettering, and the faint smell of stale peanut butter on the bindings," he says in an interview on his web site.

Back in his peanut-butter sandwich days, Henkes dreamed of becoming an artist. By high school, he had combined his love of drawing with a newfound interest in writing, and at age 19, he took his portfolio to New York City in hopes of finding a publisher. Young Henkes returned home from his weeklong trip with a contract from Greenwillow Books, and he's worked as a children's writer and illustrator ever since.

Henkes's style has evolved over the years to include more humor, more whimsy and a lot more mice. Though he began illustrating his picture books with realistic drawings of children, he's since developed a recurring cast of mouse characters rendered in a more cartoon-like style -- though with a range of expressions that make the spirited Lilly, anxious Wemberly, fearless Sheila Rae and sensitive Chrysanthemum into highly believable heroines. Owen, the story of a little mouse who isn't ready to give up his tattered security blanket, won a Caldecott Honor Medal for its winsome watercolor-and-ink illustrations.

Many of Henkes's mouse books deal with such common childhood ordeals as starting school, being teased and getting lost. Chrysanthemum, about a mouse whose new schoolmates tease her about her name, was inspired by Henkes's own feelings when he started school. "The book is about family, and how starting something new and going out into the world can be very hard," he told an interviewer for The Five Owls. "I remember going to kindergarten -- my grandfather had a beautiful rose garden, and he gave me the last roses of the season to bring to the kindergarten teacher the next day. I don't even remember how it happened, but an older kid took these flowers from me on the playground, and I remember coming home, feeling awful." As a grown-up, Henkes is able to translate difficult childhood transitions into stories that are both honest and reassuring. In a review of Chrysanthemum, Kirkus Reviews noted: "Henkes's language and humor are impeccably fresh, his cozy illustrations sensitive and funny, his little asides to adults an unobtrusive delight."

Henkes has also written novels for older children, in which he "explores family relationships with breathtaking tenderness" (Publisher's Weekly). In The Birthday Room, for example, a twelve-year-old boy learns the reason for his mother's long estrangement from her brother, and helps effect a reconciliation. "Refreshingly, Henkes has given us a male protagonist who is reflective, creative and emotionally sensitive," wrote Karen Leggett in The New York Times Book Review. "Ben feels the anguish of his mother's long-simmering bitterness and his uncle's agonizing guilt. Yet at a time when it is almost a fad to blame dysfunctional families for problems, we learn that even though there are never simple answers and not many fairy-tale endings, families can heal."

Though his novels are more complex and serious than his picture books, all Henkes's works suggest an author with deep empathy for the intense emotions of childhood. As a Publisher's Weekly reviewer wrote, "Behind each book is a wide-open heart, one readers can't help but respond to, that makes all of Henkes's books of special value to children."

Good To Know

Henkes's wife, Laura Dronzek, is also an artist. She painted the cover illustration for Henkes' novel Sun and Spoon and illustrated his picture book Oh!.

Henkes has turned down requests to use his mouse characters in a television series, but some of his books are available in video form in Chrysanthemum and More Kevin Henkes Stories. The video's narrators include Meryl Streep, Sarah Jessica Parker and Mary Beth Hurt.

Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse has been adapted into a stage play.

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    1. Hometown:
      Madison, Wisconsin
    1. Date of Birth:
      November 27, 1960
    2. Place of Birth:
      Racine, Wisconsin
    1. Education:
      University of Wisconsin, Madison
    2. Website:

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 20, 2013

    best yet in series

    How can you not love kevin henkes?? this is just the sweetest book about honesty and integrity written for a 3-6 year old. He always has a way with words so you can really feel for the character and fall in love. Not even to mention his amazing illustrations! I wish my whole house was decorated in his drawing!

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    Posted December 5, 2013

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