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Saturday, 8 October 2011

Penny Dreadful is a complete catastrophe by Joanna Nadin

Penny Dreadful is a Complete Catastrophe - Penny Dreadful

My name is not actually Penny Dreadful. It is Penelope Jones. The 'Dreadful' bit is my dad's JOKE. But it is not even true that I am dreadful...honest. You see, the DISASTER with Rooney, our class rat, might not have been such a DISASTER if it wasn't for Cosmo Moon Webster and his Amazing Maze. AND it is utterly not my fault that the Patented Burglar Trap accidentally tripped Gran over, so her bone went snap. ALSO, I only took Barry the cat to the hospital so he could revive Gran with The Power Of Pets. How was I to know it would be a Complete CATastrophe?

This book is great straight from the start. The cover is a bright lime green which hits you when you see it on the shelf. The front cover says it all, with its messy, quick and sketchy font and its illustrations full of urgency and shock! It just urges you to open the book and read the first page.

There are three stories contained in the book: Penny Dreadful and the Rat; Penny Dreadful's Show and Tell; and Penny Dreadful and the CATastrophe. There is also a bonus section entitled Penny Dreadful's 5 Tips for Survival. Penny Dreadful, the main character, is actually named Penelope Jones but Penny Dreadful definitely suits her. I would compare her to a female Horrid Henry type character where disaster, mess and mayhem follow  her around, whatever and wherever she is doing. In the first book, Penny's class have a pet rat, which is supposed to teach the children responsibility, but when Penny earns the right to take it home for the weekend, she looses it and then her father replaces it with a very pregnant female rat to take back to school. The second story follows Penny when she tries, along with a friend, to think of a really unusual and exciting item to take to show-and-tell at school. After excavating a friends garden they discover a two headed dinosaur skeleton which is sent to the British Museum for testing. The third story follows Penny when she tries to smuggle her grandmothers cat into the hospital to visit her.

The stories are funny and are accompanied by the brilliant illustrations by Jess Mikhail. The stories can not be read with a straight face, there is mayhem around every corner. Although Penny, the main character, is a girl, this book will appeal to both girls and boys and will make story time a great giggle. I would think that this book would encourage children to pick up the book and read alone too. 

The characters within the book are brilliant: Penny, Cosmo (penny's best friend), Georgina May (penny's clever cousin), Daisy (Penny's annoying sister), Mum and Dad, Aunt Deedee, Gran and Gran's cat Barry all appear in the stories and each have their own funny characteristics - I am sure children will fall in love with them all.

I would recommend this as a great reading book for 7+, for both boys and girls and there will soon be laughter as they turn the pages of the stories reading about Penny's mishaps.

Thank you to the author and Usborne Publishing for sending me the book to review.

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