cover image Penny and Her Song

Penny and Her Song

Kevin Henkes. Greenwillow, $12.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-06-208195-7

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.)