Penny and Penelope

Imprint. Aug. 2019. 40p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781250156075.
PreS-Gr 2–Two girls begin a playdate by introducing their own versions of their dolls to one another. One is a princess wearing a gown and glass slippers while the other is a leather-clad secret agent. While Princess Penelope wants to have tea and wave to loyal subjects, Penny the secret agent jumps into action, saving the loyal subjects from a crocodile, and taking Princess Penelope on an adventurous escape from a werewolf. This seemingly simple story is far deeper than young children playing make-believe. The story is told through a close-up of the interaction between the two dolls, teaching readers valuable lessons about individuals having unique skills and championing differences. The watercolor illustrations are light and playful, offering a softer setting for a whirlwind story. While there are no speech bubbles or direct text indicating who is speaking, which is a little confusing at first. The dolls’ narration is printed in different colors and font to distinguish between the two. Further, the dolls develop distinct voices through the story, making it a little easier for readers. Princess Penelope creates a trap as she is resourceful, and Penny knows how to tie knots, breaking down perceptions and misconceptions of traditional gender roles. 
VERDICT The children and dolls in the story offer readers a plethora of positive messages and the story itself is fun and creative, making this a good choice for most collections.

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