Penelope Perfect

illus. by Katie Kath. 48p. Free Spirit. 2015. Tr $15.99. ISBN 9781631980190; pap. $9.99. ISBN 9781631980473.
K-Gr 2—Penelope is a perfectionist who needs to have everything exactly right. She never makes mistakes and spends a lot of time and energy maintaining her persona. One day, her alarm does not go off, and Penelope's life is turned upside down. She is unable to prepare with her usual fervor, and her day veers wildly off track. At first, she is upset by this detour from her routine, but she soon finds that relaxing her strict rules to have a little fun can be enjoyable. The rhyming text moves the narrative along effectively, and Penelope's quirks are charming. The illustrations enhance the story; initially they are very orderly, but after Penelope's alarm clock mishap they reflect the commotion she's feeling. The depiction of Penelope's diverse classmates and her biracial family is refreshing. There is supplemental material included for adults who wish to use this story as a teaching tool.
VERDICT Those who have issues similar to Penelope's will appreciate this title. Recommended for parents and teachers looking to help kids struggling with perfectionism.

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