Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Penny and Her Doll (CYBILS Nominee)

Naming a new doll or stuffed animal is of supreme importance to young children. Cleaning house a few years back, I forced my adult daughter to go through bag after bag of stuffed bunnies, bears, cats, and other assorted animals with the challenge to get rid of at least half. There had to be more than a hundred and each one that was pulled from its trash bag home had a name, whether it be Ella, or Sleepy William Rabbit, or Silly Bones Jones.

In Kevin Henkes' second easy reader starring Penny, the young mouse receives the gift of a doll from her doting grandmother. Penny loves the doll at once but is stumped by what her name should be. Her wise parents advise her not to force the issue, and, left to her own devices, Penny eventually finds the perfect name for her doll, one that alert young readers might be able to predict before Penny's announcement.

Both Penny and Her Song and this new book hark back to classic easy readers, a genre I'm admittedly partial to. The story is unhurried and unfolds in its own time. The text is written in rhythmic, simple sentences with certain words repeated to help new readers with fluency. Here's a sample:

Penny unwrapped the doll.
The doll had pink cheeks.
The doll had a pink bow.
The doll had a pink dress
with a big button.

The illustrations support the text and add delightful details, like the wicker basket Penny's two wiggly baby siblings are often put in to stay out of trouble. And no one can do subtle expressions on a mouse face like Henkes. Bravo!

Penny and Her Doll
by Kevin Henkes
Greenwillow, 32 pages
Published: August 2012


  1. I hope Sandy didn't affect you too much over there in PA. I'm a little slower this week but otherwise unscathed. I haven't read this one yet, but loved the first Penny book. My kids are sort of on either side of the easy reader line, but I often read them aloud to my three year old. Thanks for linking up again, I'm pinning this to TCB at Pinterest, too.

  2. Love Kevin Henkes, but I haven't read Penny and her doll yet. I definitely will be putting this book on our "must check out from the library list". Thanks for sharing with The Children's Bookshelf! ~ No Twiddle Twaddle

  3. I really loved reading your blog. It was very well authored and easy to understand. Unlike additional blogs I have read which are really not good. I also found your posts very interesting. In fact after reading, I had to go show it to my friend and he enjoyed it as well!lucky hat