In this engaging and instructive story, a little girl prone to tantrums changes her ways with the help of a new friend and a well-timed case of laryngitis.
Penelope is notorious around her neighborhood for screaming whenever she’s upset—especially when her brother, Miles, teases her. Her screams are so loud that loved ones, strangers, and even local animals avoid her. Then, when Penelope gets her tonsils removed and can’t scream for a few days, she is shocked to discover a whole new world, one in which she can enjoy listening to and playing with others. An important piece of this transformation is Penelope’s new friend and neighbor, Rosie, who shows Penelope she doesn’t need to let little things like annoying brothers upset her.
The story is entertaining, cohesive, and peppered with clever details that parents will appreciate. (When Penelope finally stops screaming, she hears lovely sounds she never noticed before: a toad croaking, birds chirping, “her dad singing offkey in the shower—which made her giggle,” and “strange lullaby music coming from down the street.”) And the narrative contains a powerful message: Children are in charge of their own emotions and reactions, and it’s possible to change the way they deal with stressful situations.
While the text is a bit dense on some pages, the illustrations are charming and colorful, and filled with details that will keep young readers entertained, such as a hand-drawn picture of a mouse wearing glasses taped to the cabinet in Penelope’s doctor’s office.
There’s a possibility that the book’s message could be misinterpreted in a negative way, to imply that boisterous girls will only be accepted once they quiet down. But any parent of a tantrum-prone child will tell you that learning to control these screaming fits is a vital quality-of-life issue.
With its likeable but flawed protagonist and hopeful message, Penelope Windpipes is an appealing choice for all families and particularly those regularly dealing with temper tantrums.
Also available in paperback and ebook.