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Children's LiteratureThis clever story traces the history and folklore of the common copper penny. It begins when two young boys on a bike ride spot a bright penny. One feels it is not worth stopping for but the other stops and picks it up when an old saying comes to mind, "find a penny, pick it up; all day long, have good luck." He drops it in his pocket where it comes to life along side the other unwelcoming junk the boy has collected. The bubblegum, ball, rock, Superball, string and feather all challenge penny's usefulness and tell her to get lost. Penny begins to dream of greater days when pennies were quite useful in daily life—they actually inspired many sayings on thrift, were used for making wishes and were used by most baby boomers for their first purchase at the candy store. Historical facts surrounding the creation and use of the penny are in small print at the bottom of most pages as penny reminisces about her past glory days. Colorful illustrations featuring penny personified add to this stroll down memory lane. Penny is abruptly awakened from her daydream by the two boys arguing over who is going first. Penny wisely smiles at her critics as the boy takes her from his pocket to flip, of course, to determine who is going first. This look back at America's use of this lowly coin will bring smiles to parents and keep alive the lore surrounding the lowly penny for youngsters. 2003, Sleeping Bear Press, Ages 5 to 8.
—Meredith Kiger, Ph.D.