Anyone who has ever been nervous about the school talent show or had a furry best friend will identify with Penny and Jelly. Penny is a girl who is full of optimism and energy as she tries to decide on an act. Everyone else at school has a talent to demonstrate up on stage, but Penny can't seem to find the one for her. She tries everything from tuba playing to snake charming and through it all, Jelly is right there to support her. Okay, so there was that one time when Jelly hid under the bed while Penny did the cha cha. Don't judge - you wouldn't want your tail or paws stepped on either. And just when it seems that Penny is "untalented," Jelly helps her find the perfect performance idea.
There are so many things to love about this book. The bond between the two friends is so warm and strong. As soon as Penny walks out of the school, Jelly is there waiting on her. Jelly also has remarkable patience as Penny tries out magic tricks like sawing Jelly in half or making her disappear. The doggie fashion design that Penny attempts is a bit over the top, with socks, ribbons, a boa, and gift wrap combined together. The expressions on Jelly's furry face are priceless. Watching her shake, jiggle, and roll until the outfit falls off is almost as funny as the outfit itself. Seeing her lick Penny's hand, lay her head on Penny's lap, and follow her into the closet when she gives up in defeat - you know that this is a faithful friend.
Between the humor and the affection in the story and the lovely illustrations that show the two friends trying time and again, you feel as if you know both girl and dog. And the results of the talent show are a well-deserved reward for all their efforts.
Highly recommended for dog lovers, readers who enjoy school stories, and teachers who are covering topics like perseverance or even list-making.
Check out the great talent show kit from Curious City DPW.