Books by Sara Pennypacker

EVEN MORE AWESOME by Sara Pennypacker
CHILDREN'S
Released: Oct. 31, 2017

"A winsome tale of a dog in need of friends and just the boys who can solve that problem. (Fiction. 7-11)"
Waylon has an extremely pressing problem: he has to find a home for a friendly but undistinguished mutt, Eddy, before the dog is sent to a distant animal shelter. Read full book review >
ONE AWESOME THING by Sara Pennypacker
CHILDREN'S
Released: April 5, 2016

"An upbeat celebration of lively imagination, friendship, family, community, and the exuberance of childhood. (Fiction. 7-11)"
Fourth-grader Waylon Zakowski is struggling to navigate change. Read full book review >
PAX by Sara Pennypacker
CHILDREN'S
Released: Feb. 2, 2016

"Moving and poetic. (Animal fantasy. 9-13)"
A motherless boy is forced to abandon his domesticated fox when his father decides to join soldiers in an approaching war. Read full book review >
MEET THE DULLARDS by Sara Pennypacker
CHILDREN'S
Released: March 24, 2015

"When the siblings sneak out to join the circus, readers may hope that they never return. (Picture book. 4-8)"
All children wonder, at times, if parents make decisions solely to suppress fun; in this story, there is no doubt. Read full book review >
COMPLETELY CLEMENTINE by Sara Pennypacker
CHILDREN'S
Released: March 3, 2015

"Though looser in weave than previous appearances, still this provides the emotional honesty readers have come to expect. (Fiction. 6-10)"
Antic third-grader Clementine faces her biggest challenge yet: looming change. Read full book review >
CHILDREN'S
Released: April 24, 2012

"A suspenseful, surprising novel of friendship and family from the creator of the popular Clementine series. (Fiction. 9-12)"
Desperate times call for desperate measures indeed when, one summer afternoon on Cape Cod, 11-year-old Stella finds her sole caretaker, her great-aunt Louise, dead in her chair. Read full book review >
CLEMENTINE AND THE FAMILY MEETING by Sara Pennypacker
CHILDREN'S
Released: Sept. 13, 2011

"Filled with familiar Clementine charm but, more importantly, a whole lot of heart, too. (Fiction. 7-10)"
Clementine has had many not-so-good days. But this one just might be the worst. Read full book review >
ADVENTURE
Released: May 1, 2009

Flat Stanley is back and better than ever. Pennypacker's revival of this perennially popular character should engender great enthusiasm and may even create new fans for this old favorite. Broad humor, action-packed adventure and a tinge of sibling rivalry combine to create a brisk tale that will ably entertain young readers. A most felicitous use of language mimics (and oh-so-gently mocks) the ingenuous, gee-whiz tone of the original. The plot, naturally, is paper-thin but full of incidents that allow Stanley to use his unusual qualities to save the day. In this series starter, Stanley and his family visit Mount Rushmore, where he prevents a rockslide and rescues his brother and a new friend from a cave-in. His adventures continue in The Great Egyptian Grave Robbery (ISBN: 978-0-06-142993-4; paper 978-0-06-142992-7). The series focus on geography is an appealing nod to the oft-assigned school project that asks children to mail their own versions of Stanley to far-off friends. Although Pamintuan's final illustrations were not seen, the sample sketches match the playful tone of the text. (Fiction. 7-9)Read full book review >
SPARROW GIRL by Sara Pennypacker
ANIMALS
Released: Feb. 17, 2009

In this sober tale based on Mao Zedong's 1958 edict to eradicate China's sparrows to prevent crop damage, a compassionate little girl follows her heart instead of her Leader. When Ming-Li learns of Mao's plan to eliminate the sparrows by creating noise for three consecutive days, she prophetically fears the terrible din will kill all birds. As mindless mobs beat drums, clang gongs, crash cymbals and explode firecrackers, Ming-Li's worst fears are realized, but not before she hides seven sparrows, which she feeds and tends in secret. When spring arrives and shocked farmers watch helplessly as locusts decimate their crops, Ming-Li reveals her secret and saves her village from famine. Tanaka's quiet, simple illustrations in subdued tones match the somber mood. In her red suit, Ming-Li's solitary figure stands out from the villagers in their uniform blue jackets, reinforcing her individuality. Moving images, such as a double-page spread of dead sparrows falling like "teardrops" while a weeping Ming-Li cradles a limp bird, send a powerful message that one small person can make a big difference. (author's note) (Picture book. 5-9)Read full book review >
CLEMENTINE’S LETTER by Sara Pennypacker
CHILDREN'S
Released: April 15, 2008

Clementine's only just "getting the hang of third grade"—she hasn't been sent to Principal Rice's office for a whole week—when her world turns upside-down: Her beloved Teacher is a finalist for an Adventures for Teachers award, and if he wins, he'll be gone for the rest of the year. As it is, he's absent for a week to prepare, and life with his substitute does not go well. Mrs. Nagel doesn't know any of the tricks Teacher did that helped to keep Clementine "in sync" with the classroom, so when Principal Rice asks the children to write letters of nomination to the award committee, Clementine sees her opportunity to sabotage his success. Pennypacker and Frazee have this latter-day Ramona down to a T, her distinctive voice and unruly curls happily unblunted by familiarity. The great success of this outing, however, lies in the warmth of the relationship between Clementine and Teacher, whose humane and sympathetic understanding of his admittedly difficult scholar will strike a welcome chord with readers, especially those out-of-sync students and their teachers. (Fiction. 7-11)Read full book review >
THE TALENTED CLEMENTINE by Sara Pennypacker
CHILDREN'S
Released: April 1, 2007

What to do when all the third- and fourth-graders are putting on a talent show but you don't have a talent? That's Clementine's dilemma, and her mechanisms for escaping the talent show escalate into hilarity. Pennypacker once again demonstrates her keen insights into the third-grade mind with Clementine's priceless observations of the world around her: "At journal writing I did my idea. When I was done writing, I curled my hand over my sentence as if it were too private to share. Which is how you get a teacher to come and look at it." Clementine's quest for a talent includes gluing beer-bottle caps to the bottoms of her sneakers; juggling her mother's pocketbook, half-full coffee cup and her kitten, Moisturizer; and leashing her little brother as a prop. Even as Clementine's antics escalate, the narrative avoids the pitfall of deteriorating into slapstick with the constant reminders of her essential humanity. Every kid will understand her desperate desire not to look like a fool in front of her classmates, and they will find her very talented solution—achieved with a little help from her principal—enormously satisfying. (Fiction. 7-10)Read full book review >
PIERRE IN LOVE by Sara Pennypacker
CHILDREN'S
Released: Jan. 1, 2007

Rodent Pierre—a wistful fisherman—is secretly in love with rabbit Catherine, an artistic ballet teacher whose studio he passes each morning. For her part, the humble Catherine has fallen for a mysterious stranger who returns to the harbor each night in his boat. How these star-crossed lovers hook up is told through a combination of a simple, direct text splashed with humor and imaginative watercolor paintings that are accomplished and varied in their composition. The pictures are particularly buoyant, with precise renderings of the whiskered Pierre and his working vessel set against luminous sky-and-seascapes in choice colors. Mathers is also skilled at showing Pierre's secret longing with misty images of the hare dancing across the waves and through the clouds. An endearingly elegant pick for Valentine's Day, featuring well-matched art and text. (Picture book. 5-8)Read full book review >
CLEMENTINE by Sara Pennypacker
CHILDREN'S
Released: Sept. 1, 2006

Maybe it was because third-grader Clementine was a little bit angry with her best friend Margaret that things got out of hand with the scissors and the permanent markers and the hair. Or maybe she really was just trying to help. In short chapters, set in the city apartment building her father manages or the school where she has some tough days, Clementine relates the events of the trying week she discovered she was the difficult child in her family and thought she was about to be given away. Middle-grade readers will sympathize with Clementine's conflicted feelings about her friend and her family, and laugh out loud at her impulsive antics, narrated in a fresh first-person voice and illustrated with plenty of humor. Just like her family they will cheer when she comes up with a way to end The Great Pigeon War as well as the temporary rift with her friend. Energetic and imaginative, Clementine is gifted with understanding and patient parents. Give this to readers of Cleary and Blume and cross your fingers for more. (Fiction. 7-10)Read full book review >
STUART GOES TO SCHOOL by Sara Pennypacker
CHILDREN'S
Released: July 1, 2003

Worrywart Stuart is back and he has something to worry about in this excellent sequel to Stuart's Cape (2002). It's his first day of school and there is no end to his worries: Will the kids make fun of his clothes? What if he's the shortest kid? What if he gets stuck in the bathroom? And, the worst, where did his mother find the "plaid hurt-your-eyes pants and cowboy shirt"? Luckily for our hero, he still has his magic handmade cape, made of stapled neckties. Though he still can't quite control the magic, it does provide him with plenty of adventures. Stuart's cape has a mind of its own and readers will gasp with sympathetic embarrassment when Stuart's pants and shirt disappear, he's surprised to find himself in the teachers' room, and his pencil manages to create reality in its own hilarious way. Never does Pennypacker underestimate her readers and Matje's naïve cartoon illustrations capture Stuart's youthful angst to a tee. Precocious readers looking for clever and unusual situations will not be disappointed. Hilarious and clever. (Fiction. 6-9)Read full book review >
STUART’S CAPE by Sara Pennypacker
CHILDREN'S
Released: Aug. 1, 2002

Zany, naïve sketches complement a sure-fire winner. Stuart is about to enter third grade in his new town of Punbury. Is he worried? You betcha. "What if there were man-eating spiders in his new bedroom closet? Or a man eating spiders? What if he got lost? What if no one wanted to be his friend?" While waiting anxiously for school to begin, Stuart decides he wants to have an adventure and, in order to do so, he needs a cape. Ever ingenious, he fashions one out of ties and staples, adding a purple sock for a secret pocket. Voilà! The cape is just the thing for inviting adventures of all kinds: a dinosaur, horse, and a gorilla teach him how to play pretend; Aunt Bubbles's angel food cake allows him to fly; a catapulted pound cake brings him to earth again; and he finds his soul mate in the person of a garbage man who had been temporarily turned into a cat. The wackiness prevails, right until it is time for Stuart to start school. Pennypacker's obvious plays on words are perfect for young readers just beginning to read chapter books. Ample white space, generous font, familiar vocabulary, Matje's (A Pig Named Perrier, p. 428, etc.) frequent goofy illustrations, and over-the-top situations will leave young readers wishing they had a magic cape. Readers who like Captain Underpants have a new choice, one that will make them howl and will not make their parents squirm. (Fiction. 6-10)Read full book review >
DUMBSTRUCK by Sara Pennypacker
FICTION
Released: April 15, 1994

In a crackerjack first novel written with the verve of Margaret Mahy at her most sportive, Ivy Greene finds herself inexplicably abandoned by her normally conscientious parents. While searching for them she encounters numerous weird characters such as the vile Borage Clott, who runs the Wretched Dear Darlings' Blessed Haven Orphanage (the ``gray and lumpish'' Borage smells of toads and moldy cheese, possibly because he gnaws on his own bare feet). Ivy has never been a stranger to odd people. Her aunt Zilpa, who helps figure out what's become of her parents, is a taxidermist who believes that ice cream is a complete and perfect food and keeps a 300-pound ostrich that makes a fetish of putting round things in holes (a result of being yanked unhatched from his nest). It turns out that Ivy's folks had their common sense sucked out while standing in their own back yard on a night of total darkness—they're literally dumbstruck. Fortunately, Ivy and Zilpa are able to restore their intelligence. Highly original fun spiced with hilarious descriptions of the daft goings-on; a great readaloud. With suitably zany illustrations. (Fiction. 8+) Read full book review >