The Resource Penny from heaven, by Jennifer L. Holm

Penny from heaven, by Jennifer L. Holm

Label
Penny from heaven
Title
Penny from heaven
Statement of responsibility
by Jennifer L. Holm
Creator
Subject
Genre
Language
eng
Summary
As she turns twelve during the summer of 1953, Penny gains new insights into herself and her family while also learning a secret about her father's death
Pace
Tone
Writing style
Character
Award
ALA Notable Children's Book, 2007
Review
  • Gr. 5-8. Penny lives with her plain old American mother and grandparents, but she has an open invitation to visit her deceased fathers Italian family, where the delicious aromas are as inviting as the boisterous relatives who welcome her. Against the backdrop of these contrasting 1950s households, the author of Newbery Honor Book Our Only May Amelia (1999) charts the summer of Penny's twelfth birthday, marked by hapless episodes as well as serious tensions arising from the estranged families' refusal to discuss her father's death. Penny is a low-key character, often taking a backseat role in escapades with high-spirited cousin Frankie. However, Holm impressively wraps pathos with comedy in this coming-of-age story, populated by a cast of vivid characters (a burping, farting grandpa; an eccentric uncle who lives in his car--«not exactly normal for people in New Jersey»). Concluding with a photo-illustrated endnote explaining Holm's inspirations in family history, this languidly paced novel will appeal most to readers who appreciate gentle, episodic tales with a nostalgic flavor. Hand selling may be necessary to overcome the staid jacket illustration. -- Jennifer Mattson (Reviewed 04-15-2006) (Booklist, vol 102, number 16, p58)
  • Gr 5-7 –Penny Falucci, 11, lives with her widowed mother and maternal grandparents, but her father’s large, Italian family is tremendously important to her, too. It frustrates her that no one talks about his death, but as the summer of 1953 progresses, several events occur. First, her mother begins dating the milkman, and, when Penny’s arm goes through the wringer on the washing machine, things come to a head. Finally, the secrets behind her father’s death come out. Aunt Gina tells her about a minor incident that had horrifying consequences for him because of the restrictions placed on Italian Americans during World War II. Penny and her world are clearly drawn and eminently believable, made up of seamlessly interwoven details from everyday life. The period is lovingly re-created, from the fear of catching polio to Penny’s use of the word “swell.” An author’s note with photos is included. Recommend this novel to readers who enjoyed Ann M. Martin’s A Corner of the Universe (Scholastic, 2002) for another intricate picture of a girl with knotty ties to an imperfect family in a not-too-distant past.–Faith Brautigam, Gail Borden Public Library, Elgin, IL --Faith Brautigam (Reviewed July 1, 2006) (School Library Journal, vol 52, issue 7, p105)
  • Newbery Honor author Holm (Our Only May Amelia ) conjures a nostalgic 1953 New Jersey summer in this novel with a plucky 11-year-old narrator at its center. Penny divides her time between two extremes: her overprotective single mother (who is "afraid of just about everything that involves fun") and the maternal grandparents with whom she lives, and her deceased father's colorful Italian family. Despite her passion for the Brooklyn Dodgers and gentle comic voice, Penny emerges primarily as an observer witnessing the antics of her more zany relatives, including her favorite uncle Dominic who lives in his car, her scheming cousin Frankie (who doubles as her best friend) and her perennially black-clad grandmother Nonny, who lives to feed people and feuds with her daughter-in-law, an ex-Rockette. In the conflict between Penny and her mother's beau, the narrative offers a fresh take on a familiar plight. The relaxed pace picks up after an accident lands Penny in the hospital and she overhears a rumor about her father. Holm includes telling historical details, including information about WWII Italian internment camps and how Penny's mother will not allow her to swim in a public pool or visit a movie theater because of the risk of polio. Readers will enjoy observing Penny's growth, how she mediates a peace among her family members and offers a glimmer of heaven. Ages 8-12. (Aug.) --Staff (Reviewed August 28, 2006) (Publishers Weekly, vol 253, issue 34, p54)
  • Penny, almost 12, is caught between two extremes: her mother's small, uptight, WASP family, and her dead father's large, exuberant, Italian one. Summers, she moves freely between them, mediating as best she can between the two. Her best pal is her cousin Frankie, with whom she delivers groceries from her uncle's store, worships at the shrine of the Brooklyn Dodgers and gets into trouble. No one talks about her father's absence, and that's beginning to bother her more and more. And even worse, her mother has begun dating the milkman. Holm has crafted a leisurely, sprawling period piece, set in the 1950s and populated by a large cast of offbeat characters. Penny's present-tense narration is both earthy and observant, and her commentary on her families' eccentricities sparkles. Various scrapes and little tragedies lead to a nearly catastrophic encounter with a clothes wringer and finally the truth about her father's death. It takes so long to get there that the revelation seems rather anticlimactic, but getting to know Penny and her families makes the whole eminently worthwhile. (Fiction. 9-13) (Kirkus Reviews, June 1, 2006)
Awards note
Newbery Honor Book, 2007.
http://library.link/vocab/ext/novelist/bookUI
146964
http://library.link/vocab/creatorName
Holm, Jennifer L
Illustrations
  • illustrations
  • photographs
Index
no index present
Intended audience
730L
Intended audience source
Lexile
Interest level
MG
Literary form
fiction
http://library.link/vocab/ext/novelist/minGradeLevel
  • 5
  • 7
Reading level
4.0
http://library.link/vocab/resourcePreferred
True
Study program name
Accelerated Reader
http://library.link/vocab/subjectName
  • Families
  • Italian Americans
  • Secrecy
  • Parent and child
  • New Jersey
Target audience
juvenile
Label
Penny from heaven, by Jennifer L. Holm
Instantiates
Publication
Copyright
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Dimensions
22 cm
Edition
First edition.
Extent
274 pages
Isbn
9780375836879
Lccn
2005013896
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
Other control number
  • 9780375836879
  • 9780375936876
Other physical details
photographs
Label
Penny from heaven, by Jennifer L. Holm
Publication
Copyright
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Dimensions
22 cm
Edition
First edition.
Extent
274 pages
Isbn
9780375836879
Lccn
2005013896
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
Other control number
  • 9780375836879
  • 9780375936876
Other physical details
photographs

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