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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
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*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 CooperSee all Editorial Reviews
Have you ever been really bored so you make a wish and everything changes? Penelope Grey has! After her dad quits his job, Penelope's family moves to the country to forget all... Read morePublished 4 months ago by DG
My 8-year-old and I loved every word of this book. It's the best we've read in a long time. Something unexpected happens every single chapter. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Penny Thoughtful
I feel compelled to share my review of this book, which at first I found delightful, but as I read further on I discovered some disturbing elements. Read morePublished on January 30, 2013 by Heather Simnitt
This review is based on my 11 year old sister's summary.
This adventure story begins with 11 year old Penny's dad losing his job. Read more
I had never heard of this book or the author before deciding to give it a shot as bedtime reading for my six year old daughter. Read morePublished on October 10, 2012 by Roy L. Pickering
Penelope Grey leads a pretty regulated life at her family's mansion in the city, with a private tutor, maid and chef to take care of her every need. Read morePublished on January 11, 2011 by Madigan McGillicuddy
Penny and her parents live a rather privileged though somewhat isolated life in New York City. One day Penny is feeling rather bored and writes a wish to throw into the fountain in... Read morePublished on January 11, 2011 by Cynthia Hudson
Penny Dreadful starts off as a typical "poor little rich girl" story. Penny has it all (materially) but she's lonely and sheltered. Read morePublished on December 28, 2010 by Jennifer Donovan
Laurel Snyder's PENNY DREADFUL tells of Penny, who longs for something interesting to happen in her life - and finds challenges when her father quits his job and her family runs... Read morePublished on December 18, 2010 by Midwest Book Review