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The Hundred Penny Box

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3.75 of 5 stars 3.75  ·  rating details  ·  646 ratings  ·  76 reviews
Michael loves his great-great-aunt Dew, even if she can't always remember his name. He especially loves to spend time with her and her beloved hundred penny box, listening to stories about each of the hundred years of her life. Michael's mother wants to throw out the battered old box that holds the pennies, but Michael understands that the box itself is as important to Aun ...more
Paperback, Picture Puffin Books, 48 pages
Published October 5th 2006 by Puffin Books (first published 1975)
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Newbery Medal Honor Books
151st out of 312 books — 284 voters
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Best chapter books featuring kids of color
13th out of 49 books — 23 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,098)
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Linda Lipko
Destined to be one of my favorite Newbery books, this small book is quite remarkable.

It is a poignant tale of aging and the lessons passed along to those who want to learn.

When Michael's Great Aunt Dew comes to live with his family, he is drawn to the 100 year old woman who seems at times forgetful and other instances spot on with her observations.

Increasingly spending time with her nets a plethora of knowledge for Michael as systematically he and his Great Aunt play a game with her most preciou
...more
Josiah
I would give this book two and a half stars.
The combination of author Sharon Bell Mathis and the Caldecott Medal-winning illustrators team of Leo and Diane Dillon is well chosen, in my view; The marriage of text and pictures seems very much right for the book throughout.
The Hundred Penny Box is infused with a lot of family warmth, especially in the way that Michael is fiercely protective of his great-great Aunt Dew's independence. Michael's mother thinks that the Hundred Penny Box that aunt
...more
Maureen
This charming story is of Michael, a young African-American boy, and the close relationship he enjoys with his Great Aunt Dew, who is now one hundred years old. Michael does not think his mother understands Aunt Dew and the value of her precious hundred penny box, which holds one penny from each year of her life. Michael loves to pick a penny from the box, say, the year, and then listen intently to the memory which the year evokes. This lovely intergenerational story sensitively depicts the spec ...more
Kristine
Excerpt From THE HUNDRED PENNY BOX by Sharon Bell Mathis

"How do you get to be a hundred years old?" Michael asked and raised up from the bed on one elbow and waited for his great-great-aunt to answer.

"First you have to have a hundred penny box," his great-great-aunt finally said.

"Where you get it from?" Michael asked.

"Somebody special got to give it to you," Aunt Dew said.

Maybe reading THE HUNDRED PENNY BOX and encountering Michael who is fiercely protective and deeply loving towards his hund
...more
Tasneem  Zafer
A beautifully intimate relationship between little Michael and his 100 year-old-great-great aunt Dewbet Thomas who has a hundred penny old cracked-up, wacky-dacky box and a story behind each single penny!
It's a bit sad, I kind of felt like crying by the end of it.
I loved the part when Michael plays his favorite question game and asks his great-great-aunty, "are your arms a hundred years old? Is your face and your eyes and fingers a hundred years old too?"

The darkly brownish illustrations are bot
...more
Erica
Copyright 1975; Newbery honor 1976. Michael's great-great Aunt Dewbet Thomas, (Aunt Dew) is 100 years old, and she lives at Michael's house. She has an old beat-up wooden box that she keeps with a bag of 100 pennies inside. Each penny represents a year of her life, so, as he counts the pennies, she recalls events of each year. Mom doesn't seem to understand why the box is so important, but Michael is determined to protect it. Quiet story about listening to and respecting old people. Rec for grad ...more
Kassidy
This book was interesting. It was about a boy whose great aunt had come to live with him and his parents. His aunt was 100 years old, and she had a box full of pennies for each year that she had been alive. He would pull pennies out of the box, and she would tell him what had happened that year.
The thing I didn't like about this book was that the ending didn't really wrap up. I like sure endings, I don't like to be left wondering whatever would happen.
Sara B
Someone suggested I read this book because it is one that when they began their teaching career they used it to read to thier class at the beginning of each school year. At first I was not impressed with the book but the more I read it the more I understood why it was read aloud the class. It is about a boy who stands up for what he believes it right even when he thinks his own mother is doing wrong. It is a very touching and moving story.
PJ
The idea of a Hundred Penny Box was very appealing. The story is about Aunt Dew coming to live with Michael and his family. Aunt Dew tells Michael stories about the pennies. Michael's mother wants to throw away the old Hundred Penny Box. Michael argues with his mother to save the box. Would have liked to hear more stories of the pennies and less arguing. Good multicultural book but ending isn't very strong.
BL834
The illustrations are interesting, and the prose itself is readable. However...

I find myself irritated with all the adults portrayed in this short book. Mom Ruth thinks she's being nice to Aunt Dew but to me it feels like she's deliberately playing the martyr. Aunt Dew herself acknowledges that she "pretends not to see" Ruth - antagonizing the person who is your designated caretaker, really? Dad John obviously has good intentions but basically sticks his wife with Auntie's care.

Perhaps I simply
...more
Kathryn Reeder
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jennifer
A nice little reminder that kids understand more than we think.
Staci Browning
This is a touching book about Michael and his Great-Great Aunt Dew. The whole story sends a message of peace within the family, as well as a message of fighting for what you believe in. As Michael fights to help his aunt he understands the importance of family.

Michael is a great example of strength during hard times. Although his mom does not necessarily get along with Aunt Dew, Michael is willing to work past the differences and get to know her for himself. This book teaches a lot about patien
...more
Robert
The other day they waited
The sky was dark and faded
Solemnly they stated
He has to die
You know he has to die
Jerry Garcia, Cryptical Envelopment


There's an old saying that if you show a gun, you have to use it. Writers need to be precise. It is with that that I find myself a bit disappointed with the ending here. Dew needed to die.

Without death, the reader is left wanting. This is nothing more than a glimpse, a short story.

There's a story here, but it feels incomplete to me. There's a message, but
...more
Laura
Michael’s great-great aunt Dew has a box. An old box. An ugly box. A box with one hundred pennies in it; a penny for each year in her life. Michael loves to look through the pennies and listen to Aunt Dew’s stories from each year. She’s lived through so many different times!

But Michael’s mother disapproves of how much time he’s been spending with Aunt Dew. She also thinks they should get rid of Aunt Dew’s ugly old box. Can Michael reconcile the two women to each other? Can he make them both happ
...more
Stacy
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Ann Marie
A very good story with an awful ending - or non-ending...not sure what the award was given for...some say it is a story of respecting your elders but it shows the child being disrespectful to his mother so I do not see that...I feel the story could have been much better if the ending could have been worked out...seems the author just wanted to be done with the book.
Dani Paiz
This book tells the story of a young boy who now lives with his great aunt. The aunt is over 100 years old and kept a penny for every year she was alive. This recounts certain things about American history. It's very text heavy. It's good for vocabulary and phonological awareness. I'd recommend it for ages 4-6.
Story Revolution
Michael loves his great-great-aunt Dew, even if she can't always remember his name. He especially loves to spend time with her and her beloved hundred penny box, listening to stories about each of the hundred years of her life. Michael's mother wants to throw out the battered old box that holds the pennies, but Michael understands that the box itself is as important to Aunt Dew as the memories it contains. Winner of a Newbery Honor, this beautiful story will be available in a collector's edition ...more
Gale
EMOTIONAL TUG OF WAR

This book is more a-day-in-the-life-of tale, rather than a complete story, but still interesting. A "sleeper" with illustrations which turned me off. A young black boy realizes how precious his great-great aunt Dewbet's old, one hundred penny box really is, while his momma considers it just a piece of junk. Michael is the pawn in an emotional battle between the two women he loves most--neither of whom can understand or appreciate the other. How can a mere child discern whos
...more
Jill
Very readable and concise. I am a HUGE fan of concise...and yet, I've never really gotten into Hemingway who is known for being concise...anyway, I digress. The Hundred Penny Box has a timeless quality about it. Is a wonderful way to help children understand aging--forgetfulness and physical frailty at the surface, a richness and depth of experience under the surface if you take the time to listen. And although he is a child, Michael has a better grasp of his great-great Aunt's need for dignity ...more
Whittney Ann
Read it aloud with my detention kids today; as an adult, I can appreciate the ideas in the story but my 6th graders were really bored. I wouldn't teach from it again.
Lea
Jun 01, 2014 Lea rated it 2 of 5 stars
Shelves: a-z
Interesting concept for a book. Raises questions about aging and the value of the old whether it be things or people. One could do a lot in a classroom with this book.
Marilyn
This is a Newbery Honor Book. It's too intense to be inspiring for me. Michael's hundred-year-old great-great Aunt Dew moved in with his family. His mom doesn't get along with her. Her 100 pennies each represent a year of her life and if her box goes, she goes (passes away). Michael's mom doesn't know this and is bent on throwing the box away when Dew is asleep. It's a great illustration of the principle of ownership and how critical it is. I won't finish it with my girls. Michael's grandparents ...more
K.
Contender for read-aloud 12/13 year.

Beautifully written but a little cryptic. Very sweet in many ways, but very sad, almost morbidly sad, in some others. As an adult, I think I "got" what the author was saying about certain things, but some parts just fell flat. There was no conclusion. Such is life, and that often enough, I suppose, but I felt this book's nuances would be a little over the heads of most children. The ideal age would be probably 17+, simply to have enough life experience to bri
...more
Angela
I have read this book many time. Each time, I find new wonder and meaning.
Bree
Notes:
not really a picture book, more of a short story
best for age 11+ because of deeper emotional content
Ashley
There was nothing to this book. There was very little story, no real plot line, and no resolution. The pictures were very nice, but there was really nothing to the book. This is another of the Newberry Honors that made me wonder, why.
There wasn't anything bad to it, there was just nothing to it. It made no impact on me. I think books should leave something behind with the reader, and I just ended this book feeling like nothing had been resolved, nothing would change, and there was little to no
...more
Scott Williams
5816afa8-9de1-40aa-9876-749d247faf4b
Trish
Feb 03, 2015 Trish added it
Shelves: j
Read in elementary school.
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