Following their introduction in The School Show (2015), Penny and Jelly face another crisis head-on, using their indelible friendship to solve a problem.
The girl and her best dog are excited to receive an invitation to a sleepover under the stars at the local recreation center. They get into the spirit of it with a bedroom star show (Sirius is their favorite, of course) and check in with four of Penny’s friends, who are all going. But then Jelly uncovers the rest of the invitation—the part that reads “no pets allowed.” Jelly’s solution is for Penny to make a pretend Jelly to take with her to the sleepover, but no matter the medium—paper, yarn, fleece, marshmallow, vegetable, shaving cream, cotton ball, etc.—the stand-in Jellys just aren’t right. Time is running out; dark has fallen. Penny packs, but she just can’t do without Jelly. Just then, the perfect solution hits her, and readers will be more than satisfied. Heder’s watercolor, pencil, and ink illustrations portray emotion wonderfully, Jelly’s every feeling broadcast in tilted head and lifted ears. Penny is also realistic, especially her “working hard” face, and the crafts she makes are believable as the work of a child. It’s just too bad readers weren’t introduced to the stars the friends are so excited to see. Penny and two of her friends appear to be white; two are darker-skinned.
Another winning friendship tale from a lovable duo. (Picture book. 4-8)