Friday, September 11, 2015

Penny & Jelly ~ The School Show

 Penny & Jelly: the School show
by Maria Gianferrari; illus. by Thyra Heder
32 pages; ages 4 - 8
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2015

themes: friendship, talent

The Peabody Elementary School Talent Show was an annual tradition. All of Penny's classmates were participating.

Everyone, that is, but Penny. She can't sing or dance, so she needs to come up with a talent.

What I like about this book: I love the way that Penny attacks her problem. She begins by listing her top five talents: tuba playing, juggling, yodeling, baton twirling, jump roping. Then she practices ... and one by one crosses things off her list. So she tries other things. Penny makes lists and more lists, until finally everything is crossed off. What talent can she possibly have? Throughout it all, her faithful friend and companion Jelly sticks with her.

Beyond the book 

What talents do you have? Do you sing or dance, play the kazoo, draw pictures, write stories, design cool costumes? Maybe you drum rhythms on buckets or grow a garden. Everyone has talents - the trick is recognizing them.

Learn something new. A lot of people think talents are things you're born with: artistic ability, or athletic ability. But you are amazingly adept at learning new things. So try something you've been wanting to do... like singing. Or dancing - you can start with the Chicken Dance!

Embrace friendships. Penny and Jelly are best of friends. They don't speak the same language and they look completely different, but they understand one another perfectly. People and dogs aren't the only ones who share interspecies friendships. Check out these unusual animal friendships.

Check out the story behind the story. This summer, Maria Gianferrari wrote about the inspiration for her book, Penny & Jelly. You can read it here, at Miss Marple's Musings. Keep your eyes peeled for her next book, Penny & Jelly Slumber Under the Stars - coming out in the spring.

Today is PPBF (perfect picture book Friday), an event in which bloggers share great picture books at Susanna Leonard Hill's site. She keeps an ever-growing list of Perfect Picture BooksReview copy from the publisher.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. So happy to see Penny and Jelly reviewed on PPBF!

  3. What a wonderful story that encourages kids to try new things. There are so many talents, like drawing and writing. I remember letting my daughter try a lot of things and she found she love riding horses and competing.

    1. Thanks again, Patricia :). Nice to see you again here.

  4. What a treat to see this! Thanks so much, Sue!!

  5. Heard about the books this summer. Can't wait to read it! Thanks for adding it to PPBF.

  6. I remember daydreaming about putting on a neighborhood talent show and trying to figure out what talent I would share. What a fun book to spark kid's imaginations and help them discover their talents. :)

  7. A big Thank You to Maria for a wonderful story, and for dropping by!
    Can't wait to see what Penny & Jelly do next