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Comment: exlibrary hardcover book in mylar jacket with light wear, shows some light reader wear throughout ,all the usual library marks and stamps.
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Penny Dreadful Hardcover – September 28, 2010

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 740L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers (September 28, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375861998
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375861994
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 0.8 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,472,114 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 4–5—Ten-year-old Penelope Grey lives in a mansion with her loving but busy parents and spends much of her time reading books about kids who do interesting things. She engages in some of the same activities, but nothing Big ever happens to change her boring life until she throws a paper wish into her backyard well. A week later, her father announces that he has quit his job, and soon the Greys are on the verge of losing their house. This isn't what Penelope had envisioned at all. A new wish goes into the well, and that afternoon a telegram arrives informing Mrs. Grey that she has inherited a house in Thrush Junction, TN. Everything isn't rosy once they arrive—the house comes with tenants who are not to be charged rent and a large loan to repay—but it is also replete with quirky neighbors and the freedom for children to make friends and explore to their hearts' content. Penelope quickly becomes Penny, falls in love with her new home, and is determined to find a way for her family to stay—maybe if she locates a rumored long-lost treasure everything will be fine. The characters and atmosphere in this entertaining read are reminiscent of Polly Horvath's books, but for a slightly younger audience. Penny is earnest, endearing, and full of hope for the future.—Terrie Dorio, Santa Monica Public Library, CA
(c) Copyright 2011.  Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Penelope Grey lives a lovely life in the city, with a stone mansion, servants, toys, and plenty of books. Perhaps she is a little short on friends. And her parents are very busy. But lovely. Then one day, her father comes home and informs his family he has quit his job. This declaration of independence leads Penelope and her parents to Thrush Junction, Tennessee, where Mrs. Grey has inherited a house, but as they quickly learn, it comes with a massive second mortgage and lodgers, who, according to the terms of her aunt’s will, can live in the connected apartments without paying rent. There are a few quibbles here. The Greys could have gotten to Thrush Junction a little faster, and Mr. and Mrs. Grey sometimes seem out of touch with their situation (would Mom really not know there was a lien on the house before moving?). But Penny is a wonderful character, and the kids she meets in Thrush Junction make a perfect “our gang” to have just the sort of small-town adventures Snyder sets up for them (all illustrated in delightful pencil drawings that appear throughout). The tone harkens back a bit, but the fun is reminiscent of the very books Penny gives a shout-out to—Betsy-Tacy, Ballet Shoes, and The Penderwicks—and what could be nicer than that? Grades 3-6. --Ilene Cooper

More About the Author

I've been writing pretty devotedly, in one form or fashion, since I was about seven. In the fourth grade, I announced to the world that I planned to become "rich and famous writing books and plays for children!" Then I intended to adopt every stray dog and cat in the city of Baltimore and move them all into an old mansion, not far from where I lived.

Well, I'm not rich by any means, I live in a rather small brick house, and I only have one cat, but I am (blessedly) writing books for kids, and I couldn't be more amazed or delighted.

Most days I spend with my sons (who are tiny) smeared with peanut butter, finger paint, and silly joy. But late at night, I write these books... and I hope you'll read one...

And if you like that book, (or even if you don't) I hope you'll write to me, and say hello!

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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See all 13 customer reviews
I love the fact that she's a girl in a book who loves books.
Jennifer Donovan
While reading Penny Dreadful, this was just a book about Penelope, who wanted to go out and experience life.
Lawral Wornek
Throughout the book, the voice of the narrator is excellent.
Beth Gallego

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Lawral Wornek on October 3, 2010
Format: Hardcover
This is a hard book to summarize because the beginning is so incredibly different from the rest of the book. It all goes together. The difference doesn't cause any jarring shifts for the reader, and circumstances in the opening make the rest of the book make sense, but this is not a book about a little rich girl who moves to the county, as the first couple chapters would have you believe. Yes, Penelope has grown up rich, but finances quickly deteriorate in the Grey household after her father leaves his job. As the whole family figures out how to live without a chef, a housekeeper, or even a steady income, this becomes a book about figuring out what is really important. Houses and furniture can be let go; your family (and your books!) you take with you. Once that family gets to Thrush Junction, however, this becomes a book about finding yourself, making friends, and feeling and helping others to feel welcome. It's about community.

But I didn't think any of this while I was reading. While reading Penny Dreadful, this was just a book about Penelope, who wanted to go out and experience life. She needed to become Penny instead, and in Thrush Junction, she finds just the right people to help her do just that.

Thrush Junction is populated with a bunch of oddballs, many of whom live at Whippoorwillows with the Greys. Penelope, who has never really had friends before, must come out of her shell, and Luella is the perfect girl to drag her out. As Penelope, now Penny, learns how to have and be a friend, Luella introduces her to the rest of their little town.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By G70 VINE VOICE on July 30, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I'm almost exuberant about how much I liked this book. I read Penny Dreadful aloud to my daughter and her playmates over the course of a week, and thoroughly enjoyed their reactions and involvement in the story. It is also -- unlike a large share of even children's books -- easy to read aloud, thanks to Ms. Snyder's comfort with language; the writing is never forced or overwrought. While written for 9 to 12 year-olds, the elements of the story are appropriate for any elementary schooler.

The book embraces the fairytale/princess fantasy all girls know and turns it on its head to suggest an anti-princess fairytale alternative. In lieu of an emphasis on beauty or romance or glamor, Penny Dreadful suggests relationships with family, friends and community are in fact vastly more rewarding. This clever parable got my daughter and her friends talking about their own choices and priorities!

Penny Dreadful is clever and fun. Do take the opportunity to enjoy it and be delighted by it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Alan Gratz on October 12, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Penelope Grey is a girl whose only adventures come from books. That's all well and good--Penelope loves books. But just once she'd like something interesting to happen to her. In no time Penelope gets her wish--and far more than she ever bargained for--when her father quits his well-paying job and her family is forced to put their big city house up for sale and move to the country. There Penelope (who quickly restyles herself Penny) finds new friends and adventures galore not in a big storybook kind of way but a in a small-town, backyard sort of way--although there is a Tom Sawyer-ish adventure in the local caves thrown in for good measure. Once again Laurel Snyder finds magic in the mundane and excitement in the everyday, all while expressing perfectly the doubts, fears, hopes, frustrations and dreams of childhood. A wonderful book, made all the more entrancing by Abigail Halpin's charming illustrations.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jennifer Donovan TOP 1000 REVIEWER on December 28, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Penny Dreadful starts off as a typical "poor little rich girl" story. Penny has it all (materially) but she's lonely and sheltered. She tries to break out of her boring, dreadful rut by acting out (or at least dreaming up) adventures that she has read about in her favorite books.

I love the fact that she's a girl in a book who loves books. I have a feeling that she will appeal to many girls who are just like her -- whether they think their lives are dreadful or not. I know I'd like her, because she loves the books I love: The Penderwicks, The Secret Garden, Anne (with an "e" of course!), Betsy and Tacy, Ramona, Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle etc. etc.

Early in the story, her father suddenly loses it all, then her mother is named a beneficiary in a distant relative's will, so they sell their big city apartment and move to the country. The house they inherit comes with quirky tenants (who don't actually pay rent, and who can't be evicted per the terms of the will). It might seem to some to be a different kind of dreadful, but Penny loves the slower pace of life that encourages her family to connect.

This book feels and reads like a classic children's novel (much like the Penderwicks does), but I'd be completely surprised by contemporary details. For example, one character has two moms (a fact which is not belabored, but simply mentioned), and many of the professionals in town are women: such as the pediatrician Dr. Sanchez and the two sisters who are attorneys (when they were just mentioned by title, I assumed that they were men, and so that's why it was a surprising detail).
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