Exuberant Penelope and shy and retiring Tiny, the most oddball of friends, are back, this time trying to decide what they can do together in the school talent show.
Fittingly, the book opens with Penelope letting out a loud “YIPPEE” in her excitement over the news and Tiny shushing her: “You’re making a scene.” Though Tiny has learned his lesson to let Penelope be her own hippo, the uptight mouse is still not comfortable being a part of what he sees as her extravagant ideas for a best-friends talent-show act: dance (ballet? Hula? Hip-hop?), a skit (“Rapunzel”? “Jack and the Beanstalk”? “Little Red Riding Hood”?), a circus act (trapeze? Clowns? Lion tamer?). But his idea—the chorus—just isn’t spectacular enough for Penelope. In the end, Tiny suggests that the two be in the show, just in different acts, and they can clap for each other. And when Penelope’s “ballet-Rapunzel-trapeze act” goes awry, her best friend is there to rescue her as if it were part of the act all along. Cornelison’s illustrations play up the size difference between the two friends as well as Tiny’s reticence versus Penelope’s over-the-top verve. Tiny’s thought bubbles are hysterical as he imagines lifting the hippo in a pas de deux or having her try to be the center of attention in the chorus.
Best friends don’t have to do everything together, but they are there for one another, and Tiny and Penelope exemplify that. (Picture book. 4-8)