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ONE BRIGHT PENNY by Geraldine McCaughrean


by Geraldine McCaughrean & illustrated by Paul Howard

Age Range: 7 - 9

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2002
ISBN: 0-670-03588-2
Publisher: Viking

The flavor and spirit of a traditional tale permeate this original story of a child who finds a way to outsmart her mean daddy without causing a family rift. Challenged by their dad to fill up the barn without spending more than their weekly penny, or lose even that, young Bill, Bob, and Penny each give it an ingenious try. Bill’s wagonloads of turkey feathers and Bob’s thousand lit candles fail to fill every nook and shadow, however, leaving it to Penny to spend her coin on a banjo, and fill the barn with music. Alternating vignettes and larger scenes, Howard gives the tale a rural American setting, outfitting the children in patched denim and giving their grizzled father an obnoxiously smug expression. Seeing himself bested, Pa offers to leave Penny the entire farm and move into the chicken coop, but she’ll have none of it; from now on, he’s to take it easy, give Bill and Bob the farm—and let her supply the music. Here’s the shiniest addition to the ranks of clever, capable girls since Diane Stanley’s Sweetness. (Picture book. 7-9)