Penny from Heaven

 
5.0
 
4.5 (2)
2272 0
Publisher
Age Range
8+
ISBN
037583687X
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1 reviews

Engrossing Historical Fiction
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style 
 
5.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable) 
 
0.0
It's the summer of 1953. Eleven year old Penny has two families but no father, except in the memories of family members--and those memories don't always seem to match. Penny lives with her mom and maternal grandparents, quirky Pop-pop and Me-me. She also has a geriatric poodle named Scarlett O'Hara, who happens to be bladder challenged.

Her other family include her father's relatives, a large and rambunctious Italian family including Penny's favorite, Uncle Dominic, who lives in his car. Uncle Dominic gives Penny a lucky bean. Little does she know how much she'll need it this summer.

Penny starts working as a delivery girl for one uncle's butcher shop. Her favorite cousin Frankie works alongside her. Mischievous Frankie livens up Penny's life but also lands her in trouble from time to time. But that's nothing compared to the upset Penny is in when her mother develops an unlikely romance. Penny just doesn't understand this love business . . .except maybe when it comes to a certain lifeguard at the city pool (where Penny is forbidden to swim because her mother fears polio). In fact, Penny's life is one mystery after another: How did her father really die? Why does her mother not like her father's family?

PENNY FROM HEAVEN is an engaging read with a delightful main character. The historical details feel true. The mystery about Penny's father ties into a shocking episode of American history that was a true eye-opener to me.

This engrossing story touches on death, prejudice, family, pets, miracles, and love of all kinds. It'll probably make you laugh a lot, and also weep quite often . . .but it's sure to make you keep turning the pages. Very highly recommended.
TM
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A gem of a book!
Overall rating 
 
4.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style 
 
4.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable) 
 
0.0
Reader reviewed by Amanda

Being a Newbery Honor book, I had to give this book a read. I definitely wasn't disappointed! This was a beautifully written coming-of-age story that children and young adults will be able to enjoy for years to come. Jennifer Holm, author of the Newbery Award winning book, Our May Amelia, is back with another lovely book about children growing up faster than they should have too, but enjoying themselves on the journey.


Penny, a half-Italian girl living with her mother and grandparents in New Jersey, longs to know more about what happened to her father. Her died when she was very young and her mother never speaks of him. The only time Penny is able to hear his name mentioned is when she is over at her Italian grandparents house, where her myriad of Aunts, Uncles, and cousins never fail to talk about her dad. Penny loves spending time in this boisterous household where food is always delicious and her best friend and cousin Frankie spends most of his time.


Unfortunately, Penny's mother doesn't get along with her in-laws and doesn't like Penny spending all of her time over there. As her mother begins dating, Penny tries to break up the dates in order to matchmake between her mother and her father's brother, Dominic. Penny, more than anything, wants her two families to love each other as she loves them. After a tragic accident that puts the use of Penny's arm in jeopardy, the true colors of her family members really begin to shine.


Set in the 1950's this book is so much more than family problems. It has exciting baseball games, friendships, and a mystery of buried treasure. The characters are incredibly real and lovable. Uncle Dominic was probably my favorite of the cast, because of his quirkiness and mystery. This is a true gem of a book.
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wonderful, beautiful book
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style 
 
5.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable) 
 
0.0
Reader reviewed by mimagirl

I don't know where to begin with this book, except to say it's wonderful, and you should read it. It's about a lot of things - a girl named Penny, her Italian relatives, the Dodgers, and butter pecan ice cream. It really makes you stop and think of how much research the author must've done to write this book, because you feel like you're right there in the 50's along with all the characters. Like it's happening now. It made me laugh a little and cry a little, and smile a whole lot.

Every time it rains, it rains
Pennies from heaven.
Don't you know each cloud contains
Pennies from heaven.
Trade them for a package of
Sunshine and flowers.
If you want the things you love,
You must have showers.
So when you hear it thunder,
Don't run under a tree.
There'll be pennies from heaven for you and me.
~From "Pennies from Heaven" by John Burke and Arthur Johnston
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