Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Penny Dreadful by Laurel Snyder

Penny Dreadful

by Laurel Snyder

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations
788154,388 (3.82)None



Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

Showing 1-5 of 8 (next | show all)
Penny Dreadful by Laurel Snyder is about Penelope Grey and her parents who go through some major life changing events. As the book opens, Penelope is living in a huge house in the center of The City where she is home schooled and looked after more by the servants than her ever busy parents. While she knows she has a good life, it's not a fulfilling one.

A wish for something exciting to happen coincides with a huge change in her life. It begins with her father, heir to the family business, and source of the family's income, announcing that he's quit his job at the family business. Without his large paycheck and the mother's love of shopping, they quickly run out of money and the house ends up looking like something from Horders.

Another wish changes things again, sending them to the country, to an inherited house being shared by numerous eccentric families. The move to the house is where the book picks up. Penelope makes friends and blossoms.

Penny Dreadful highlights the problems families can have and the importance of open dialogs between parents and children. Penny's parents want to protect her as they try to cope with their problems. Unfortunately this just makes things more stressful for Penny and everyone else. Penny, too, with her new friends, might even have the solution to her parents' problems.

The life at the new house isn't all about the financial woes. There are new friends and new adventures, including a treasure hunt in a cave. I liked getting to explore with Penny as she adjusts to her new home.

I found the book a quick and compelling read. ( )
  pussreboots | Nov 14, 2014 |
Sweet and fun. It's the kind of book I would have loved when I was a child, full of references to other books, with a bit of trouble and a lot of humor. The characters are quirky without being scary, there's enough backstory but not too much, and it's, well, wholesome. Sweet is the proper word, I think- but the sweet of raspberries, not the sweet of candy bars.
( )
  satyridae | Apr 5, 2013 |
Really enjoyed this one ( )
  simplybookdrunk | Apr 4, 2013 |
What's not to like about a book that mentions Betsy-Tacy, Anne of Green Gables, and "Over the Rainbow"? Not to mention "chickabidee." :) ( )
  Dandelion_Cottage | Mar 30, 2013 |
I really wanted to like this book. I liked Up and Down the Scratchy Mountains and Baxter the pig who wanted to be kosher. I really, really loved Any Which Wall. I even asked for a review copy of Penny, which I almost never do.

But it just didn't work. *sniff*

Penelope Grey is bored. She doesn't want to tell anyone because...well, she doesn't want to be a spoiled rich girl and she knows she has so much she shouldn't be bored but...she is. She has no friends, her parents work or socialize constantly, and she doesn't go to school, but has a tutor. So one day she puts a wish in the wishing well in the garden...and her dad quits his job. At first, Penelope thinks this might be, at least interesting, if not exactly what she was hoping for. But everything goes wrong. Pretty soon there's no money, no servants, her parents aren't talking to each other, and Penelope knows it's all her fault. Maybe another wish can set things right?

Suddenly, the whole family is moving to the country, to the tiny town of Thrush Junction where her mother has inherited a house...and, it turns out, a large group of rent-free tenants, not to mention some rather sizable debts incurred by rare llamas. Penelope gets a new name - Penny - a new friend, Luella, and a whole new world to explore. Will they be able to stay? Will Penny find the treasure? Will she make more friends?

The problem for me with this story was A. the characters never felt real and B. not enough happened. "Penelope's" life as a poor little rich girl felt exaggerated and unrealistic. She doesn't seem to ever leave the house, except for a few outings with a couple other girls (who I thought were nannies, until one of them is mentioned as having a sleepover). Why does Penelope have a tutor? Why doesn't she go to a private school? Her parents' sudden and complete helplessness in the face of money and practical issues felt wrong; how did her father run a company (however incompetently) without even the faintest idea of money? How does her family go from wealthy to complete poverty in only a couple weeks? Her mother throughout the book shows that she's had a capable and independent past, yet she seems to completely lose any practical abilities in the face of disaster.

Once we meet "Penny" I started getting drawn into the story. She felt more realistic and her struggles to fit in with kids who had very different backgrounds sounded real. However, I still kept waiting for something to happen. Money problems get worse, Penny and Luella hang about and meet some other kids, and then the treasure hunting expedition is crammed into the last few chapters. I wanted...more concrete action? Fewer side characters and more focus on the main characters, since I never felt like I got a really good handle on them, especially Luella.

Reading as an adult, and having grown up in and out of small towns, the happy happy feeling in Thrush Junction didn't work for me. The small towns I knew and lived in weren't...well, they weren't that happy. And there was a lot more alcohol around. And the acceptance of eccentrics...I guess maybe Ms. Snyder has had much better small town experiences than I have, that's all I can say.

So, those are the things that didn't work for me, the adult librarian reader. What about the intended audience, children? I don't honestly think this would have worked for me as an 8-12 year old either. I never did like eccentric characters and while I really liked small town adventure stories, I would have wanted more adventure, maybe some sneaking around at night at least, and a lot more funny bits. However, I do think there is an audience for this story. It's a good peaceful reading-in-the-summer-sun story. Kids who DO like eccentric characters with just a little hint of mystery will enjoy this story. Kids who want to fantasize about what it would be like to move to the country, who like stories about friendship and family, they will all enjoy this story.

Verdict: This story didn't work for me and I would probably have trouble booktalking it, but I'm still glad I purchased it for my library and it has circulated several times already. Probably those who like When You Reach Me (which didn't work for me either) would enjoy this one and it's a good summer reading story. Recommended for a core juvenile library collection.

ISBN: 9780375861994; Published September 28, 2010; Review copy provided by author; Purchased for my library
  JeanLittleLibrary | Apr 4, 2011 |
Showing 1-5 of 8 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
First words
Last words
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English


Book description
Haiku summary

No descriptions found.

When her father suddenly quits his job, the almost-ten-year-old, friendless Penny and her neglectful parents leave their privileged life in the city for a ramshackle property in the eccentric town of Thrush Junction, Tennessee.

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
7 wanted1 pay

Popular covers


Average: (3.82)
2 1
3 7
4 8
4.5 2
5 4

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


Help/FAQs | About | Privacy/Terms | Blog | Store | Contact | LibraryThing.com | APIs | WikiThing | Common Knowledge | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | 106,001,939 books! | Top bar: Always visible