I recently received the following free ARC (Advanced Reading Copy) of a new children’s book coming out for in exchange for an honest review.
“Sweet Penny and The Lion“
by Richard Fairgray and Alexander Burke
Sky Pony Press, available in both Hardcover and ebook
Release date: March 6th, 2018.
The Low Down
There once was a girl called Sweet Penny who did exactly as she was told.
Her sister and brother disappointed her mother, but she never broke the mold.
Penny was so nice and quiet that teachers forgot she was there. Being so good, doing just what you should, that just won’t get you anywhere.
This is the story of Sweet Penny, a young girl who always, always obeys the rules. She listens to her mother and to her teachers too, doing just what she is told – no matter what those orders may be.
The twist comes when Sweet Penny stays put, just as she was told to do… resulting in Penny being eaten by a Lion! (Don’t worry… she makes it out alright). This experience changes something in Penny, and after punching and kicking her way out of the Lion’s belly, she will never be taken advantage again.
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The book itself is beautiful, with unique illustrations that are both colorful and muted, presenting rich characters and scenes that feel almost reminiscent of Shel Silverstein, sprinkled with hint of Amphigory by Edward Gorey. Yet, even though the look may bring those books to mind, “Sweet Penny and The Lion” stands apart.
Physically, this book will feature large on your book shelf. Sporting an impressive 10″ x 12″ size in hardback with 32 glossy pages, it has the width and stature to require a special place on the rack.
When this came in the mail, both my girls grabbed it right away, flipping through the pages and ooohing over the illustrations. Even though it felt big to me, they seemed to like the size.
Parent Take Away
Alright… I KNOW what they are trying to say here and I GET the message, I just worry that a young child won’t. This book is about using your brain and thinking things through – and how always following EVERY rule can lead to someone, or something, taking advantage of you. When Penny is told to stand outside in the playground because the lab is on fire, she stands there – and doesn’t even move when a giant Lion jumps over the fence, even though all the other children flee. This results in the prompt disposal of poor Penny – something she could have avoided if she had run when the other kids ran.
Kid Take Away
No matter my initial reservations about this book, BOTH my girls (ages 5 & 7) LOVED this book. They loved the illustrations and they loved Penny – and both seemed to think that it was incredibly silly that she stood there and allowed herself to be eaten. Little rebels in the making? I hope so…
Overall, this is a book I would recommend you read to your little ones – and then follow up with questions. Do they get the message? What would they do in that situation? It could be a great opening for future conversations.
If you enjoyed this post, please be sure to check out my post on The Benefits of Reading Aloud to Children.
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