Sunday, August 2, 2009

Book Review: Penny & Rio

Ever wonder why on earth your dog dug up the flowers? Or barked like mad to get out in the middle of the night? Or crawled under the fence? Or snuck into the neighbor's house?

The Penny and Rio series just might have the answers for you as it delves into life from a dog's perspective. It's all part of your detective dog's mystery-solving duties, of course...

In the book Penny & Rio: The Mysterious Backyard Meeting, you'll meet two completely opposite canines. Penny uncovers a plot by a cat, an owl, a groundhog, and a squirrel to break into the neighbor's house. And of course, it's up to her to guard the neighborhood and foil the plot, while "good man" buddy Rio lazily sleeps on.

I'll stop right there so I don't spoil the mystery for you...

The Author

In addition to being owner to real-life Penny and Rio, Jennifer Swanson has three children. You can find her "ferrying her kids to soccer practice or games, studying hard for her Masters in Education class, relaxing with her husband or most importantly, hard at work on a new mystery for the intrepid Penny and Rio to solve. Jennifer has also recently become a middle school science instructor for John Hopkin University's Center for Talented Youth." She is committed to helping animals and has taught her kids the same values.

Our Review

If you are looking for an introductory chapter book for a toddler, then I highly recommend this one. It has colorful, fun illustrations on every other page or so that kept 2-year-old Esmé's attention as I read through the book. Since it was the first chapter book I've really attempted reading to her, my expectations weren't too high, but when I tried to put the book away after one chapter, she insisted on continuing! We made it through all five chapters (42 pages) in two sittings.

The book is actually intended for an older audience, maybe up to age 9 or so. The story line was pretty basic with a fairly simple vocabulary.

It was fun introducing Esmé to the concept that each of the different animals not only had its animal name (cat, owl), but also a personalized name (Buster, Feathers) - since she is so into arguing about what to call things these days. ("I not Esmé, I girl!" or "That's not Mommy, that's Jane!") She enjoyed describing what was happening in the pictures after I had read about it: "That flower broken! That dog make flowers broken!"

If you're looking for a lesson from the book, it might be that you shouldn't jump to conclusions or make quick judgments of others, because things aren't always what they appear to be.

(Though you might want to explain that it was still wrong for Penny to dig up the flowers or dig under the fence, even though she had a perfectly good reason for doing so.)

Overall, a cute sweet read based on real-life dogs that my little girl enjoyed very much.

For more information on this and upcoming Penny & Rio books (and coloring pages to go with the book, too!), visit Penny & Rio's website...
This review book was obtained through Review the Book.


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Pamela said...

Ditto whatever your spammer said.

I think I should get that for my 2 and 4 year old grandsons. They need to be read to more often. Wish I lived close (They are in central California)