From School Library Journal
Kindergarten-Grade 2–Penelope is excited when she receives an invitation from her friend Luther Crow to an unforgettable surprise that afternoon. She believes that he will be taking her to a performance of Swan Lake
. Poor Penelope is hard pressed to enjoy herself, however, when Luther instead takes her to Wet and Wild Water World. She spends the visit worrying about ruining her new feather-do and nice outfit. When Luther realizes that Penelope is not having much fun, he offers to take her home. As they prepare to leave, an elephant doing a cannonball drenches Penelope and she resolves to stay and have fun. The colorful cartoon illustrations are populated with a variety of animals similar in style to James Marshalls work. Children will find much humor in the details, especially in the signage at the water park. Readers will appreciate the storys message that life is full of surprises–some more fun than others–and that its how one deals with them that really matters. A worthwhile purchase for libraries where additional books on friendship are in demand.–Maura Bresnahan, High Plain Elementary School, Andover, MA
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PreS-Gr. 2. The creator of Hector and the Noisy Neighbor
(2004) offers a story about miscommunication between friends. Penelope Nuthatch is thrilled when her friend Luther Crow invites her for an "unforgettable" surprise. After spotting an ad for Swan Lake,
she leaps to the conclusion that Luther has planned a day at the ballet. She prepares by having her feathers coiffed at the beauty parlor and carefully choosing a sumptuous purple tutu, so she is very disappointed when Luther's surprise turns out to be a trip to a new water park. Afraid to muss her feathers and gown, Penelope spends the day hot and overdressed, watching Luther splash through rides, until she finally chooses comfort over style and joins her friend in the water. The clean-lined, bright pictures highlight the action and humor; Gavril also inserts lots of bird-related puns for parents (Roger Egret is a theater critic). The well-paced text will read aloud well, and many young children will recognize Penelope's initial struggle to find fun in a seemingly unpleasant surprise. Gillian EngbergCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved