4 out of 4 stars
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"Treat others the way you want others to treat you; with kindness, care, courtesy, love, and respect.”
This is the "Golden Rule" that Susan Uriarte attempts to pass across in the fun-filled children's book, Penelope Sherbanné, named after the main character. Penelope's parents, Mr. and Mrs. Sherbanné, knew how important it was to raise Penelope with good moral values, and they tried to do so to the best of their ability. However, a lot of their lessons to their daughter didn't hit home. Penelope was usually disrespectful and unkind to her teachers and classmates. After getting a time out for bad behavior, an unexpected magical encounter with the land of Wala Waloo shows her the repercussions of bad behavior. Will this encounter be enough to change Penelope?
I'll start by saying that this is one of the most creative children's book I've ever read. The book goes with a soundtrack, "The Morplus Soundtrack," which readers will have to listen to while reading the songs included in the book. Initially, I wasn't very sure about what the soundtrack experience would be like. However, it was really fun singing along with the characters, and I'm sure children will love the soundtrack.
Moral lessons are always one of the first things I look for in any children's book. In this department, this book excels. Besides themes of being kind and treating others with respect discussed throughout the book, the book also touches on the importance of eating healthy. The story highlights the effects of unhealthy eating habits and urges children to eat more vegetables and fruits. The author even goes the extra mile to introduce us to the delicious Morplus Veggie-Fruit smoothie, including materials and instructions required for its preparation.
Furthermore, the book isn't as heavy on illustrations as I would have liked, but Susan does a brilliant job of describing characters and locations sufficiently. The names of some characters, like Worrya, Angst, and Stressa, creatively helped to describe characters as well.
Penelope Sherbanné is an exceptionally well-edited book. I didn't find a single error while reading, and this made it easy to finish the book in one sitting. There wasn't really anything to dislike about the book. However, I would have preferred the book to have been a bit shorter in length, as children mostly have short attention spans. I rate this book 4 out 4 for its brilliant execution and creativity in passing important messages that are relevant to children today. I would recommend this book to children of ages 5 to 10.
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