One Proud Penny
by Randy Siegel , illus. by Serge Bloch
If the luster of a newfound penny has dulled for today's kids, One Proud Penny is sure to polish it right up again.
The starring penny in Randy Siegel's (Grandma's Smile; My Snake Blake) bright shiny picture book was minted in 1983 in Philadelphia ("the home of the Liberty Bell, Patti LaBelle, cream cheese, cheese steaks, soft pretzels, and the United States Mint." The affable penny narrator is actually a photo of a real penny, often with a face, arms and legs inked in by French illustrator and cartoonist Serge Bloch (The Big Adventure of a Little Line; My Snake Blake; Saturday).
This penny gets around, and a whimsical U.S. map shows how far he's traveled. (The flat little guy describes freezing his tail off on a garage floor in Green Bay, Wis., "until I got picked up, and used to pay for stuff several times.") The penny's enthusiasm is contagious as he shares his story. There are 250 billion pennies in circulation, for instance. Also, pennies are now 97.5% zinc and 2.5% copper, but in 1943, his "great-uncle" was steel. The penny is happy about the president emblazoned upon him, too: "As my man Lincoln once said: 'Whatever you are, be a good one.' " (He tries to be the best penny he can.)
Readers may truly be inspired by this stalwart coin who endures bouncing around dryers and spending a year in a sewer drain, and still manages to be cheerfully philosophical about it. A brief history of U.S. coins and "Interesting Facts About Pennies" add to the sheen. --Karin Snelson, children's & YA editor, Shelf Awareness
Discover: This fun, fascinating picture book, narrated by a goodnatured, rather stoic penny, will have children looking at coins with new respect.