Roy's Reviews > Penny Dreadful

Penny Dreadful by Laurel Snyder
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Mar 09, 2015

really liked it
bookshelves: for-children, women-authored

I had never heard of this book or the author before deciding to give it a shot as bedtime reading for my six year old daughter. From the cover copy I saw it shared traits with books we've read to her so far such as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Holes, Half Magic. These books each feature young protagonists and the element of magic. The twist in Penny Dreadful is that by the end we're not certain if magic ever really played a part in what took place or if certain critical events were instead the result of chance. Did Penny wish things into being or did they coincidentally take place shortly after she wished for them? With Penny being such a vague wisher, asking for improved circumstances rather than for something specific to change them with, we can't be 100% sure. The story takes a little while to get going in the eventful sort of manner that children enjoy. I thought my little one might grown impatient with the set-up and ask for another book. But she remained sufficiently intrigued so we kept reading. Once Penny and her parents leave The City and move to the interesting house they have inherited, the narrative picks up steam. In her new home the formerly rich and sheltered Penny learns the value of friendship and using her inner resources to get by in a world where everything is no longer handed to her on a silver platter. Her feisty best friend Luella is the character my daughter was most amused by and related to best. Her pivotal role is basically to introduce Penny to normalcy and childhood experienced the way it ought to be done, with joy and exuberance and curiosity and daring. Before meeting Luella, Penny knows of adventure through books. After, she finds that no adventure is greater than life itself.
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