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Benny and Penny in the Big No-No!: TOON Level 2 Hardcover – May 1, 2009
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From School Library Journal
PreSchool-Grade 2–In Benny and Penny, the children are suspicious that their new neighbor has stolen Benny&'s pail, so they sneak into her yard even though they know it&'s a &big no-no!& Through many misunderstandings, they learn to apologize and make a new friend. The simple text uses basic vocabulary and repetition, making it accessible to emerging readers. Young children will love the graphic-novel format and the sweet, charming illustrations will draw them into the narrative. Fans of Geoffrey Hayes&'s popular Benny and Penny: Just Pretend (Toon Bks., 2008) won&'t be disappointed with this sequel.–Mari Pongkhamsing, St. Perpetua School, Lafayette, CA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
In this delightful sequel to Benny and Penny in Just Pretend (2008), the mouse siblings have a new neighbor whom they suspect might be a thief, because Benny’s pail is missing. When they look over the fence into the backyard, they see strange footprints. Then Benny falls into the yard, Penny follows, and they find a pail, mudpies, and a hedgehog girl wearing swim goggles and fins on her feet. They accuse each other, the hedgehog girl flings mud at the others, and the two mice go back to their yard—where Penny finds Benny’s pail in their sandbox. Now they have to go back and apologize. Young readers will recognize the misunderstanding and the bad first impressions people will sometimes make as Benny and Penny—and Melina—learn a lesson about making friends. Hayes draws charming little animal children with highly expressive faces, and he uses great dialogue, easy-to-follow panels, and fun sound effects; children will repeat his muddy “splop!” with gusto. Grades K-1. --Kat Kan
Top customer reviews
READING THIS TO A FIVE YEAR OLD WAS PAINFUL. THE STORY DIDNOT HOLD HIS ATTENTION-NOR MINE.GAVE UP BEFORE THE FIVE YEAR OLD COULD EXPERIENCE ENOUGH DISLIKE TO GIVE UP ON READING!!
Author-illustrator Geoffrey Hayes (not a relation, unfortunately:-)) brings the world of mice siblings Benny and Penny vividly alive. Benny is curious as to the identity of his new neighbor and decides to climb over the fence despite his younger sister Penny's "It's a No-No" objections, and their first encounter with their young neighbor does not go very well. It's made worse by Benny's suspicions that their new neighbor might have stolen his missing pail. Things turn out all right in the end with a new friendship being made in the most delightful way.
Although the central characters are wild creatures, the expressions, the words, and the illustrations perfectly capture the mannerisms of young children making this story one that is easy for young children to relate to. There are laugh out loud moments, some sad scenes when Penny, Benny, or the new friend gets upset, and even some nervous moments when the siblings are trying to hide from their new neighbor. I even found myself getting swept up along with the story, and co-reading this with my daughter proved to be an excellent way to get in some mother-child bonding time! We now plan to check out the other titles in this series.
The illustrations are wonderful, which is always half the point of a graphic novel. The story is cute and very funny! The 8yo had a lot of real giggles over the events and I thought the story was very age appropriate. My struggling reader had no problems reading this book. The compelling story line kept him focused on figuring out the harder words and I am very pleased with this installment in the Toon Books series.
The plot of the story is pretty slight, but it has the back-and-forth, up-and-down quality of real life among the sandbox set. Benny and Penny are curious about their new neighbor, and when Benny is convinced that she stole his pail, they end up trespassing in her yard (the big no-no). Benny compounds things by blundering into her carefully made mudpies and destroying one. Convinced the neighbor is a monster, they hide in the tall grass when they hear footsteps. In fact, the "monster" is just a little mole, wearing swim fins and goggles, who is upset when she finds her mudpies destroyed. She tosses one away, it hits Benny, and a battle ensues. The story switches quickly between slapstick and tears, as the kids pelt each other with mudpies and eventually, just as in real life, someone gets hurt. Benny spots the pail and stalks off with it, but his bluster dwindles to sheepishness when he realizes that his pail was in his yard all along. After a bit of scheming, he simply goes back and apologizes, more mud is thrown, and everyone ends up friends in the end.
The nice thing about this book is that it models good behavior--apologizing after being a jerk--without being preachy. For a pair of mice, Benny and Penny are surprisingly human. Benny puts down Penny when they are alone but sticks up for her when they are threatened; Penny sticks up for Benny as well; and their neighbor is appropriately startled and angry when Benny and Penny bust in and start wrecking things--but she's also quick to forgive when they apologize. There is also an unspoken theme of acceptance of diversity: Melina, the neighbor, is a mole, not a mouse, and Benny and Penny refer to her as a "monster," but once they get to know her, they get along just fine.
Benny and Penny is more than just a picture book with word balloons; Hayes uses the full comics toolbox, often stretching and shaping his panels and breaking the borders to help tell his story in subtle ways. His art, on the other hand, is not the bright, flat-color art of cartoons but has a lovely, textured feel to it, pastel without being washed-out. In fact, it captures perfectly the feeling of hanging around in your back yard on a sunny summer afternoon, which makes this tale a delight to look at as well as to read.
-- Brigid Alverson