Review: Penny and Penelope by Dan Richards

Penny and Penelope by Dan Richards

Penny and Penelope by Dan Richards, illustrated by Claire Almon (9781250156075)

When two very different girls get together for a play date, it turns out their dolls are just as different. Penelope is a very sweet princess with a tea set and a pony. Penny is a secret agent with a motorcycle. When danger arrives outside the castle, Penny rushes forward. She defeats the crocodile in the moat and then moves on to take out the werewolf lurking in the woods. Soon Penny and Penelope are riding together on the motorcycle trying to escape, but the werewolf makes its way into the castle tower. It turns out that a princess might be just right for taking out a werewolf as long as she has a cunning plan!

Written entirely in dialogue between the two girls, this book has a breezy quality that makes it perfect for reading aloud. Their voices merge with those of their dolls, and are shown on the page in different colors and fonts. There is a certain amount of doubt in the beginning about whether they want to play together, but as their imaginations take over the adventure begins and both dolls are right in the mix of things. The notion that girls can be secret agents, princesses, robots and more resonates clearly here, and the book celebrates all of the options equally.

Almon’s illustrations are bright and bold. They celebrate both the dazzling gown of the princess doll and the slick leather of the secret agent. The action is captured nicely as are the differences between both girls and their dolls.

This playful picture book is just right for your little princess or secret agent. Appropriate for ages 3-5.

Reviewed from library copy.

News to Wake Your Brain Cells Jan 10


18 2020 children’s books you’ll want on your reading list this year – Romper

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas author defends work from criticism by Auschwitz memorial – The Guardian

Eoin Colfer on returning to Artemis Fowl – The Guardian Podcast

Fall 2019 flying starts: we spotlight six notable children’s and YA debuts this season – Publisher’s Weekly

Newbery, Caldecott and perspectives on excellence – Reading While White

Raina Telgemeier: The Comics Industry Person of the Decade – The Beat

This teacher was worried children weren’t getting bedtime stories. So she began reading them – on Facebook – The Washington Post


The 2010s were supposed to bring the ebook revolution. It never quite came. – Vox

Why the second-hand ebook market may never take off – Fortune


In library renovations, when do discussions of accessibility arise? – Book Riot

Tucson library offering homeless patrons food, resources – Houston Chronicle

Why many libraries are eliminating late fees – Forbes


48 YA book releases to look out for in 2020 – The Nerd Daily

50+ YA books starring queer girls hitting shelves in 2020 – Book Riot

Dash & Lily: Netflix orders holiday rom-com series based on YA books – Sunrise Read

In Conversation: Becky Albertalli and Aisha Saeed – Publisher’s Weekly

Winter 2020 YA books: 175+ January-March new releases to TBR – Book Riot

YALSA names 2020 Amazing Audiobooks for Young Adults – YALSA