Penny and Her Marble

Penny and Her Marble

2014 Geisel Honor Award

The lovely, imaginative, curious mouse, Penny, is out walking her babydoll Rose through forests and up and down the fantastic pathways of her mind when she spots a beautiful, blue marble in Mrs. Goodwin's front yard.  Penny is absolutely certain that this marble cannot belong to Mrs. Goodwin.  She picks it up and holds it in amazement.  What a beautiful marble.

So, the marble goes home to live at Penny's house and unfortunately it brings with it a little tickle.  It's a tickle of worry and it starts to grow in Penny.  Should she really keep the marble?

Everyone will recognize that itchy feeling that starts to get bigger and bigger when you really know you have made the wrong choice.  What will Penny do now?

978-0-06-208203-9   48 pages  Ages 5-8

Recommended by:  Barb

"It  is often determined that children under the age of eight cannot always
tell  right from wrong or tell reality from imagination. That is why age
eight is  referred to as 'the age of reason' for children to be able to be on
their own.  Therefore, many libraries will have a policy that children must
be eight to be  in the library without adult supervision."

"Lies  that life is black and white
Spoke  from my skull, I dreamed"
--  Bob Dylan, "My Back Pages"

"After  Mama and Papa left her room, Penny looked at the marble. It was
still so blue  and so smooth and so shiny. Penny put the marble back in her
"She  kept thinking about the marble.
"When  Penny did fall asleep, she dreamed. She dreamed that Mrs. Goodwin
was knocking  at the door, yelling 'Where is my marble?' Then Penny dreamed
that the marble  grew so big it broke her dresser to bits."

Penny  is uncharacteristically blue. Why? While she is out walking with her
doll Rose,  she spies a really groovy blue marble sitting on old Mrs.
Goodwin's front lawn.  Rationalizing her decision, and making sure that no one is
watching, she pockets  the blue marble. Now, upon reflection, she develops
increasing feelings of fear  and guilt and, after a tough night of dreaming,
she returns the marble back to  Mrs. Goodwin's lawn. The story ends well
because old Mrs. Goodwin wants her to have the marble after all.

PENNY  AND HER MARBLE is a book you need to have. Get it if you don't
already have  it.
That  aside, the real issue for me is how we present this story to our
students,  patrons, and offspring. Is it our desire to instill fear in children
so that they do the supposed "right thing" out of that learned sense of
fear no matter  what the circumstances? Do we want to stamp out any belief in
life's  occasionally offering fortuitous little treasures? My fear is that
well-meaning  adults will use this book as a tool for promoting a black and
white view of  stealing and other issues of morality.

Instead,  I would be talking to children about how, throughout their lives,
they will  repeatedly be approaching forks in the road where they need to
make choices  about what their heart tells them is right. We can and should
seek to teach our  children empathy and compassion for others, including the
child who has had something lost or stolen. I'm big on teaching them to put
themselves in the  place of others and to "Do unto others as you would have
others do unto you."  [Matthew 7:12]

But  I'm not one who wants to be involved in fostering fear and suspicion
in young  children. I prefer them learning to think for themselves and to
learn their own  hearts.

The  reality is that many of the forks in the road we encounter offer
multiple  choices, and that often none of them are simple or completely ideal or
fair. And  so I am less keen about presenting this book as "Penny learns
about not taking  things that don't belong to her," and more about it being
"Penny finds something  beautiful, takes it home, and eventually finds within
herself what the right  path is for her in the situation.  

Recommended by:  Richie  Partington, MLIS, Librarian, California USA
Richie's Picks _http://richiespicks.com_ (

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