“Besides Miss Stunkel’s art class, there’s only one other thing I like about school. Field trips. Miss Stunkel calls them Outings for Educational Purposes, but I don’t care what they are called as long as we get out of school and don’t have to learn about fractions.”
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Things start going downhill for Penelope Crumb as soon as the buss pulls up outside Portwaller History Museum. She gets into trouble with the teacher whilst helping her best friend Patsy Cline. Then she is left behind in one room and upon voicing her opinions about this is sent back to the bus, with yet another note for her mum. But Penelope just wants to remember, everyone and everything in her life. Deciding to create her own museum though is not the best idea when you are taking things that belong to other people and soon Penelope finds out the hard way that holding on can’t always be done when someone else wants to let go.
This is a sad book, I was almost heartbroken at the end of it and I swear Penelope has to have another story or I will cry. I liked a lot of this book but I thought it was a lot more serious than the first, though that is not a bad thing.
The story is a bit slow in places and I felt it didn’t have as much in it as the first but I still enjoyed it. Its mainly about Penelope feeling left out when her friend starts getting closer to another girl in their class and how that makes her feel. Penelope is quite different to other people because of her morbid curiosity about life and death and whilst I still love her as a character, I can see why other characters in the book try to distance themselves from her.
The drawings bring this book to life and I love the contrast between the people Penelope likes and those she doesn’t, you can see straight away who is who and I think thats brilliant. They look just like doodles when you turn the page but as you read the story the pictures start making sense and I think they make a great addition to the book.
The serious elements in this book work so well because they are 10 year old serious, they aren’t things that I worry about as a 25 year old but they are things I can remember being concerned about back then, people leaving or even dying, and my friends getting new friends and leaving me behind. The book is very realistic in its topics and I love what it would give to a reader of its target age, even though thats not me.
I would recommend these books because they give a lighthearted approach to the serious issues surrounding life at 9 or 10. I think Penelope is such a fun character because she embraces her uniqueness and I think thats also something we should be passing on to the younger generation.
Penelope Crumb Never Forgets was published on September 26th by Quercus books. My copy was sent to me from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
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