Penelope Crumb’s large nose links her to her mysterious grandfather, who, it turns out, is not Graveyard Dead.
When fourth-grade artist and would-be gumshoe Penelope Crumb realizes she has a large nose, everyone, especially her older brother Terrible (really Terrence), laughs it off. How can she not have known? Her mother states that it is Penelope's late father’s nose, and the girl is pleased to be linked to him. But when her mother throws out a comparison to her Grandpa Felix’s honker, Penelope is surprised that her grandfather is not dead. He just has not been part of the family since Penelope’s father got sick. This casual comment, and a class assignment about family stories, sends the youngest Crumb on a quest to find this mysterious Grandpa Felix. Told in a fresh, amusing first-person voice, Penelope is part adventurer (she and her best friend skip school, take trains and knock on strangers’ doors in their search), part private investigator and part therapist as she tries to piece together the missing parts of her family’s story. Her mother, a medical illustrator, is mostly in the background, studying and drawing and getting over her husband’s death, but she succumbs to Penelope’s powers by the end.
Fans of Clementine and Ramona will cheer as new friend Penelope finds what she is looking for. (Fiction. 7-10)