Penny Dreadful by Laurel Snyder

Penelope is bored with her life and looking for some excitement to liven up her days. Sure, her family is rich and they live in a beautiful house and have enough money for Penelope to be taught at home by a (boring) tutor and have all the books she could dream of, but her life is just completely devoid of fun and joy. She doesn’t have any friends, and her parents are busy all the time. After making a wish in an old well, Penelope is shocked to learn that her father has quit his job, opting instead to stay home and write a novel. While at first Penny welcomes this change, the family  soon goes through all their money and is forced to move to a house Penelope’s mom has inherited way out in the country.

A new house, new town, and new neighbors and friends all enter Penelope’s boring world and quickly turn it into anything but boring! Beginning with a name change from Penelope to Penny, she starts to get used to small-town life, while making friends with her quirky neighbors, looking for buried treasure, and most importantly, helping her family to understand what truly matters in life.

Great characterization, a wonderful sense of diversity, and just a “cozy” feeling overall. You’ll want to read this one with the whole family! Great for fans of The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall or Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo.

Penny Dreadful by Laurel Snyder (Random House); Ages 8-10; $16.99

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