Tuesday 2 May 2023

Penny Draws a Best Friend

Penny Draws a Best Friend by Sara Shephard (Text Publishing) PB RRP $16.99 ISBN978192279024

Penny Lowry is a fifth grader when this story begins, waiting for Violet Vance, her best friend since kindergarten, to come back from holiday camp. Penny’s a budding artist, who draws a detailed portrait of Violet, but is taken aback when Violet’s portrait of her seems to be something she’d done the year before. She wonders why Violet suddenly ditches her for the most popular – and meanest – girl in school. Then there’s another problem – Mum is suddenly acting as though she has a secret.

Penny chronicles her worries in a journal to her dog, Cosmo. She has many worries, one of which is her new teacher, Mrs Dunphy, who is Too Strict (when she wanted Mr Glen who is Just Right). Then there’s her relationship with Juice Box, the nickname for her little brother whose real name is Noah. Penny spends time with the Feeling Teacher, Mrs Hines, who ‘teaches’ feelings and who Penny has been talking to since second grade. She's taken aback when she discovers one day that she's not the only student who Mrs Hines talks with.

The book is full of black and white illustrations, often drawn in comic strip style with speech balloons. There are some fun chapter headings such as 'Juggling Knives', 'Intestines', 'Rock Bottom', and 'Gum'. 

This engaging book is full of the dramas in Penny’s life, with lots of relatable events for a reader who likes humour and action. It is ideal for a reader aged 9+ years.

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