Henkes, Kevin. Penny and her song. New York: Greenwillow Books, 2012. Print.
Audience: Ages 4-8, Grades PK-3
Summary: Penny has made up a song and she desperately wants to sing it for someone. Unfortunately, first the babies are sleeping, and then songs are not for the dinner table. Finally, Penny gets to sing her song for her family and they love it. Mama and Papa join in and they put on a show that puts the babies right to sleep in time for bedtime.
Strengths: Henkes’ distinctive colorful illustrations bring Penny and her family to life. The concept is a sweet one, which would be easily identifiable for many kid. The characters are a familiar family grouping, and the vocabulary would be accessible for 1st and 2nd graders.
Weaknesses: This book is definitely for the older end of the suggested age group with a great deal of words that would make it difficult for a four year old. The character is sweet but doesn’t have the exuberant personality of some of Henkes’s other characters.
Uses: Student could write their own narratives about Penny and her brothers and sisters. (CCSS ELA:W.3 Grades K-4). It also is a good example for retelling of a story (CCSS ELA: RL.2 Grades K-2). A music teacher could use this book to talk about the joys of music and singing and how it brings people together.
· Penny series - Kevin Henkes (the continuation of the series)
· Amelia Bedelia – Herman Parish (another fun character)
· Amanda Pig and Her Big Brother Oliver – Jean Van Leeuwen (series about a girl and her brother)
· Bink and Gollie – Kate DiCamillo (series about two friends who are very different)
· Mercy Watson to the Rescue – Kate DiCamillo (a pig named Mercy Watson)
Other: Starred reviews in Booklist, Horn Book, and Publisher’s Weekly
Resources for teachers and librarians: