Penelope Perfect: A Tale of Perfectionism Gone Wild by Shannon Anderson

I received this book from Netgalley/the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Penelope Perfect is a picture book by Shannon Anderson. Penelope is a little girl in elementary school. She maintains a meticulous routine: she wakes up at 5:00, she always double checks her work, her desk is organized, and she even stays in at recess to do schoolwork. When a storm knocks out the power to her house, everything goes wrong; the alarm doesn’t wake her up, she doesn’t have time to comb her hair, and she even gets a B on a test. But when Penelope decides to go outside at recess and actually play with her classmates, she realizes that always being perfect might not be as perfect as she thought it was.

The illustrations were provided by Katie Kath. I found them to be quite charming. There’s such a contrast between the first half of the book and the second half. Penelope is dressed very nicely, her schoolwork is flawless, and she even uses antibacterial wipes before eating lunch. In the second half of the book, Penelope has to rush around because she is late. Her clothes are a little messy, and her hair is wild. Her facial expression is pained at first, but then she begins to smile when she realizes that she feels comfortable.

I read Penelope Perfect with all three of my girls. There are some great discussion questions at the back of the book, and we spent some time discussing Penelope’s story. My girls do have some issues with rigidity, but they aren’t perfectionists. If anything, my oldest girl tends to rush through her work and make careless mistakes. There were still lessons that we could take away from reading this book: accepting that it’s okay that things don’t go the way we expect them to, and finding the positive aspects of a negative situation.

I would recommend Penelope Perfect. The material is presented in a very engaging manner with rhyming quatrains. This is a wonderful teaching tool for children in elementary school, and I think that there are aspects that all children can relate to even if they don’t tend to rely on routines.
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