In her latest book, Penny uses her craft skills to help her grandmother pay for some home repairs.
From page 1, readers who have not read about Penny’s previous monetary escapades (Pretty Penny Sets up Shop, 2010, etc.) will be slightly lost, as Bunny (Penny’s grandmother), Iggy, (an animated stuffed pig?) and the Small Mall (an attic space for crafting and displaying sale items) are never explained. A noise in the night turns out to be a flood in the basement that will cost $100 to fix(!), but Bunny has spent all the money budgeted for house repairs. Penny sleeps on the problem, waking up with the solution—a jewelry show. After two days of crafting, the Small Mall is ready for friends and neighbors to browse. Though Penny makes $60 from the jewelry sale, she has to subtract the $10 spent on supplies to find their profit. Wooden dialogue and stilted sentences plague this outing, and readers will have to suspend some disbelief to get through it—how are customers to get to a shop in the house’s attic? Do Penny and Iggy go to the craft store on their own? And why is the plumber still working and Bunny still mopping two days later? Kinch’s digital illustrations are bright and detailed, though there are a few missteps—the shadows are off, and Bunny is far from “knee-deep in water,” as described.
More than a few pennies shy of a full dollar. (Picture book. 5-8)