PPBF: Penelope Perfect

Today's PPBF pick is perfect. 
Well, uh, Penelope Perfect that is.

Title: Penelope Perfect
Author: Shannon Anderson
Illustrator: Katie Kath
Publisher: Free Spirit Publishing
Date: August 20, 2015
Suitable for: ages K - 3rd
Genre: Juvenile Fiction
Themes: anxiety, perfectionism, resilience, growth mindset
Brief synopsis: After her house losing power causes Penelope to oversleep, the mishaps in this young perfectionist's day align to brew the perfect storm. Can she survive an imperfect day and learn to let go of some of her perfectionism in the process?
Opening page: 

They call me Penelope Perfect.
If you know me, I'm sure you agree.

Have you ever heard of Old Faithful?
Well, that geyser has nothin' on me!

Copyright © 2015 by Shannon Anderson. 
Excerpted with permission of Free Spirit Publishing Inc. All rights reserved. 

*Read this article for tips on Putting Perfectionism In Its Place.
*Read Magnificent Mindsets to spark a growth-mindset discussion.
*Is your perfectionism out of control? Click {here} to find out.
*Play the So What? game with your child(ren) to help get to the root of worries, anxieties or fear and change errant thinking about the end result. Start with a statement: You wake up late for school. Then ask {in a kind, non-judgmental tone} So what? Well, I'll be tardy. So what? I'll miss the morning warm-up. So what? Well ... you get the picture. It's a great way to get perfectionists to see that making the mistakes they fret about aren't likely to ever be something they can't rebound from and resolve.
*Springboard a geography lesson about Old Faithful and geysers. Look up where on the map it is, then challenge students to research other National Parks and find out what, if anything, sets them apart.
*Watch this video clip on resilience and discuss it:

*Make an anchor chart H-map and compare and contrast Penelope's tale with 

Why I like this book: I see a lot of Penelope in me; she loves order and wants everything to line up thrives when everything aligns. And while there's nothing inherently wrong with that, it does pose a problem that could easily spin her out of control when her orderly routine is upset. In true perfectionism form, the more we control, the more out of control we feel. So when stuff that we can't control takes over, it's how we bounce forward from those upsets that will ultimately make a difference. Such an important life lesson for people of any age. 

The activities and suggestions in the back of the book will help the readers who tend toward perfectionism work toward letting go of some of the worry and anxiety that's associated with that fixed mindset. Life will go so much more smoothly when we learn to celebrate mistakes instead of letting them paralyze us, a gift Penelope receives in the aftermath of her imperfect present and the laughter that ensued. Use the claim ~ Laughter is a resilience skill. ~ as a conversation starter or as a writing prompt to find out if/how they've used laughter to jump a high hurdle or overcome an obstacle.

Check out this book; I think it'll be the perfect addition to your collection. 
Then head to Susanna's blog for today's other PPBF titles.

Update: The evening of the day this posted, my Dad sent a message to me with a quote he'd just read: Perfection is the enemy of good.
 We are all connected, aren't we ...


  1. I'd like to read this together with your contrast-book suggestion (test it out for my little neighbor Penelope!)

    1. Oh, wow, is her name really Penelope? I think she'll like it; it really is adorable!

  2. Such a great book for kids who want to please and do everything just right. I think we all have a little perfectionism in us. This is a excellent book for kids and parents, as well an important book for the classroom.

    1. Yes, Pat, it's a keeper for ALL ages and especially for those pleasers. Penelope works so hard at being orderly that she hasn't even given herself permission to be a kid or play. Yikes! Thanks for stopping by and reflecting.

  3. I wonder if this book will inspire a child who lacks the need for perfection to search out a little more perfection in their life. I'll check it out and see if it works.

    1. Great question; it's all about balance, isn't it? I think you'll find there's a LOT of food for thought in this little treasure!

  4. What a great comparison to Old Faithful! I know kids that could use this book.

    1. I read it to a first-grade classroom today and geyser was a new word to most though one child totally knew what it was though he wasn't sure if Old Faithful spouted continuously or "once a week." AdOrAbLe! And a great research assignment.

  5. I think that I (and my family) have a lot to learn from this book. Thanks for highlighting!

    1. That makes two of us. The students in my audience today were actually kind of tense until Penelope erupts in laughter and gives herself permission to mess up and laugh about it. I hope you'll enJOY this one as much as I do.


I really enjoy hearing from my readers; thanks for sharing your reflections with us!