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Penny and Her Marble

Last updated Sunday, February 5, 2017

Author: Kevin Henkes
Date of Publication: 2013
ISBN: 0062082035
Grade Level: 1st    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Feb. 2017

Synopsis: From Booklist: "One morning, while pushing her doll’s stroller past Mrs. Goodwin’s house, Penny the mouse spies a big, sky-blue marble in her neighbor’s grass. After checking that no one is watching, she puts it in her pocket. Back at home, she enjoys playing with her new treasure until she sees Mrs. Goodwin in her yard 'exactly where Penny had found the marble.' Suddenly Penny feels uncomfortable. That feeling grows, making it hard for her to eat or sleep. The next morning, after putting the marble back where she found it, she learns that her neighbor had placed it there in hopes that someone would find and love it. When Penny accepts the marble from Mrs. Goodwin and thanks her, all is well. Through his narratives, Henkes conveys shades of emotions that are common to the human experience yet hard to express in words. It’s particularly impressive that he can do so in a book for beginning readers. Told in short sentences and simple words with a natural cadence, the story lays out a moral dilemma, lets the heroine find her own solution, and concludes with a reassuringly good outcome."

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  Have you ever played with marbles?
•  What colors do marbles come in?
•  What games do you like to play?


•  Pretended - to act as if something is true when it is not true
•  Glinted - to shine in small bright flashes
•  Shrugged - to raise and lower your shoulders
•  Worried - feeling or showing fear and concern because you think that something bad has happened or could happen
•  Pounded - to hit with force again and again

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  When you play outside, do you imagine you are some place else, or in a different time period?
•  Have you ever found anything on the sidewalk?
•  How did Penny feel about taking the marble?
•  What did Penny do the next day after taking the marble?

Craft ideas:
•  Draw a picture of your favorite pretend place to be.
•  Make a Valentine's Day card.
•  Check out our February craft ideas on Pinterest!

Special activities:
•  Bring marbles to show the kids how to play.

*Note: These craft ideas are just suggestions. You can use them, but you don’t have to use them. You can expand upon them, or add your own twist. Remember, though, that the focus of your time should not be on the development and execution of a craft; the focus should be on the read-aloud and the enjoyment of the book!