An overscheduled girl falls into a hole in her schedule in Britt's whimsical debut.
Young Penelope longs to be a writer and loves spending time daydreaming with her mostly idle neighbor, Miss Maddie. Her mother, however, packs every moment of Penelope's day with work and meaningful activity: There’s no time to relax, let alone imagine anything. Then one day, like Alice falling down the rabbit hole or Dorothy being whisked into the land of Oz, Penelope disappears into a magical land, where the Great Moodler, architect of fantasy and creativity, has vanished and the whole world runs by clockwork according to the dictates of archenemy Chronos. With new friend Dill, Penelope embarks on a quest to free the Moodler and liberate the Realm of Possibility. It's all written in over-the-top, pun-heavy prose (Penelope explores the Naughty Woulds and engages in combat with the Wild Bore) that recalls that classic allegorical journey, The Phantom Tollbooth, among other adventures. Most pages are embellished by White's purple ink cartoons; Britt writes smoothly and seems wholly at one with her material.
Not as masterful as Juster’s genre-defining work but enjoyable on many levels. (Fantasy. 8-12)