Stout, Shawn K and Illustrated by Docampo, Valerie Penelope Crumb 221 pgs. Philomel, 2012. $11.98. (Rating: G)
Penelope is a fourth grader who discovers that she probably has a big nose. At first she is mortified, but after she finds out that an extra big nose might just mean extra good sniffing powers, she sets out to find her genetic heritage in order to seek out the truth. Her family hasn’t had contact with her grandfather, and she is convinced that is where the nose came from. So she tries to find him and even more, find out what he hasn’t been in their lives when they needed him the most.
I am so mad about this book. Finally an original, quirky, fantastic character who I really want students to get to know. Great writing and a fresh style.
But I cannot and will not recommend a book for elementary school students with a plot that entails a child seeking a strange grown man (relative or not), including spending time in his apartment, without her parents help or permission. No parent would thank me for that. I know there are plenty of fantasy and adventure stories with children seeking answers to mysteries and meeting a host of unsavory characters, but I swear that when Penelope went into that mans apartment with her cute little friend (that she hoped was her grandfather), I positively mortified.
Elementary– NOT RECOMMENDED Reviewer: Stephanie School Librarian & Author.