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Penny and Her Song

Penny and Her Song

3.0 4
by Kevin Henkes

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Penny loves her song. It's a good song, a really wonderful song. Will it ever be the right time to sing it?

Includes original music so you can sing along with Penny!


Penny loves her song. It's a good song, a really wonderful song. Will it ever be the right time to sing it?

Includes original music so you can sing along with Penny!

Editorial Reviews

Kristi Elle Jemtegaard
Kevin Henkes's first venture into the beginning-reader format is simple proof that less is not only more, it is nearly perfect. Amazingly, this little book shows how much emotion can be conveyed in two short chapters of 73 exceedingly concise sentences, many made up of four words or fewer.
—The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly
Henkes (Little White Rabbit) introduces a musical mouse who must wait for the right moment to share her talent with her family. When Penny walks in the door, ready to belt out the counting song she learned at school, her mother gently quiets her. “Your song is beautiful,” says Mama, “but you will wake the babies.” Penny gets the same reaction from her father, and she fidgets until mealtime. At the table, her parents ask her to hold off again. Finally, the whole family gathers for Penny’s solo, a catchy rhyme from one to 10. Henkes gives Penny a whole spread to herself, allowing her time in the spotlight. Mama, Papa, and the babies smile and join in for subsequent performances, an activity that has the welcome effect of helping Penny’s younger siblings fall asleep. Much as he did in Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse, Henkes presents an irrepressible heroine who struggles to compromise. Through measured characterizations, Henkes helps readers understand why Penny must be patient. Just as important, he models how parents can respond thoughtfully to an attention-seeking sibling. Ages 4–8. (Mar.)
Children's Literature - Peg Glisson
Henkes successfully enters the world of early readers in this gentle story of Penny's attempt to divert her parents' attention from the babies to her. Penny's created a song and she is desperate to sing it for them, only to be told several times "Not now." Singing to her mirror or to her glass animals just doesn't do it for her. She tries again at dinner, but of course there's no singing at the table! Her parents help her find the right time to perform; and, after hearing her song, they join in on the next round, and the next, and the next—until singing and laughing has made them all exhausted and put the babies to sleep. Writing for the early reader crowd demands limited vocabulary and can lead to limited storyline, but Henkes has overcome that limitation with a simple, but meaningful, story of patience and understanding. His signature watercolor and ink illustrations in relatively bright shades show both action and emotion and are well placed throughout the text. Unlike Julius, this is not so much a story about jealousy as it is about Penny's finding her place in the family, about expectations and fun, and making memories. Reviewer: Peg Glisson
School Library Journal
K-Gr 2—In this mild, two-chapter tale for beginning readers, Henkes once again touches on the challenges of being an older sibling. Penny is a young mouse bursting to sing a song to her parents that she has just learned at school. But disappointingly, every time she begins to sing, her parents ask her to stop. "'Your song is beautiful,' said Mama, 'but you will wake up the babies." Singing to herself in the mirror or to her glass animals just isn't the same, so Penny tries again at dinner. "'Not at the table,' said Mama. 'After dinner,' said Papa." Finally, before bed, Penny gets her chance to perform. The whole family joins in and soon discovers that the youngster's song has helped lull the babies to sleep. The narrative here is light on drama and character growth. Penny is neither as charismatic nor immediately lovable as some of Henkes's other, well-known protagonists. However, families seeking easy vocabulary and an old-fashioned story with positive, sass-free family interactions will appreciate this gentle read. Pastel-hued watercolor and ink illustrations of Penny and her smiling mouse family (done in classic Henkes style) brighten each otherwise clean, white page. Fans of the author who have graduated to independent-reader status will be glad to see his familiar hand at work on the easy-reader shelves.—Jayne Damron, Farmington Community Library, MI
Kirkus Reviews
Penny sings a joyful song that resonates in her happy mouse family. At first Mama and Papa are reluctant to hear the song that Penny made up, because they fear she might wake the babies. So she sings to herself in the mirror and to her collection of glass animals, but that's not very satisfying. Finally, after dinner she sings her song, and her parents make a real show of it, wearing costumes and singing with her again and again. All this excitement tires everyone and puts the babies to sleep in their basket. At bedtime, Penny worries that she will forget her song by morning, but when she wakes up, her special song is still with her. Penny joins Lilly and Owen in Henkes' pantheon of mouse children. She is delightfully human as she seeks to divert her parents' attention from the new babies. Henkes' signature crisp and bright watercolor-and-ink illustrations depict every action and emotion and appear in a variety of shapes and sizes, centered in line with large print text and surrounded by white space. He has visited this theme before, in Julius the Baby of the World, but here there is no overt jealousy, and the sweetness level is higher. A charming, child-friendly take on the ever-popular new-baby theme. (Early reader. 3-8)

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
I Can Read Book 1 Series
Sold by:
Sales rank:
AD420L (what's this?)
File size:
12 MB
This product may take a few minutes to download.
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

Meet the Author

Kevin Henkes is the award-winning creator of many books for children, including the Caldecott Medal Book Kitten’s First Full Moon, the Caldecott and Geisel Honor Book Waiting, the Newbery Honor Books The Year of Billy Miller and Olive’s Ocean, and several bestselling books about mice, including Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse and Chrysanthemum.


Brief Biography

Madison, Wisconsin
Date of Birth:
November 27, 1960
Place of Birth:
Racine, Wisconsin
University of Wisconsin, Madison

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Penny and Her Song 3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Tried on Nook Simple Touch, Android Nook app, iPad Nook app, and Surface Nook app. Shows as incompatible on all of them. Might have been nice to know that _before_ I'd paid for it...