cover image Princess Penelope's Parrot

Princess Penelope's Parrot

Helen Lester. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH), $15 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-395-78320-7

It's Penelope's birthday, and decked out in a dress that has ""ruffles on its ruffles on its ruffles,"" the ultra-spoiled princess is naturally getting everything she wants, including mouthfuls of cake, a 16-wheeler bike and jewel-studded roller blades. One gift, however, refuses to fit into Penelope's game plan: a bright green parrot, who is so appalled by its new owner's greediness that it refuses to speak. Penelope fumes at the bird, but the joke is on her: everything she says to it comes back to haunt her at a most inauspicious moment. There may be no one more adroit at wryly depicting childish petulance than Munsinger, while Lester's storytelling calls to mind the dry wit of a Thurber. Shrewdly, author and artist punish Penelope but they do not reform her; they will tickle their readers with their antiheroine's irremediably bad behavior. Ages 4-8. (Oct.)