Scholastic "Sensational Spring Reads" 

The journey of a penny takes us from the Philly mint to a garage floor in Green Bay to a kid’s pocket. Brilliantly funny drawings and text. Grades K–3.

Kirkus Reviews:

A penny’s rough-and-tumble escapades lead to unexpected ends in Siegel and Bloch’s engaging picture book....Siegel’s protagonist proves an excellent ambassador. “Some folks think pennies are worthless, but I know we are worth a lot.” Here’s a book sure to convince some readers. Worth every penny. (historical note, selected facts, resources) (Informational picture book. 4-8)

Publishers Weekly:

Though this story from the duo behind My Snake Blake includes factual information about where pennies are made (Philadelphia, mostly) and what they’re made from (zinc, mostly), this is also a story about an object that people don’t pay much attention to.... It’s the story of an unlikely hero, happy with its somewhat lowly lot and enjoying adventure wherever it’s found. Siegel does a sterling job of conjuring up an emotional life for this ubiquitous coin. 

Amazon "Best Books of the Month: Nonfiction for Kids"

Shelf Awareness:

If the luster of a newfound penny has dulled for today's kids, One Proud Penny is sure to polish it right up again....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

A Junior Library Guild Selection for 2017

Houston Family Magazine

Kids love learning new facts about the objects they know well.  This lively history of the penny and its life cycle will please both kids and adults.  The pen and ink drawings work well with the photographs of real pennies.  You will make sense out of cents!

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The New York Times:

"Apart from its title, “My Snake Blake” isn’t creepy at all. Blake the snake is a little boy’s perfect friend right out of the birthday-present box. He calms the boy’s alarmed mother, spelling out reassuring cursive words with his body, and shows himself to be of invaluable service: Blake knows all the boy’s homework answers; helps with batting practice; and even walks the dog, serving as both ­walker and leash. It’s a very boy-centric story; snake-loving girls — seeing the contrast between reluctant mother and eager father, son and male snake — might wish for a snake book of their own."

The Wall Street Journal:  

"Blake turns out to be a dream pet; in other words, he does everything that a small boy might dream a pet could do. The snake is able to turn himself into cursive writing—that's how we know his name—as well as play baseball, scare bullies, eat yucky vegetables that the boy drops (on purpose) under the dinner table and answer tough homework questions, such as: "Which British poet wrote Songs of Innocence and Experience?" Serge Bloch's marvelously economical drawings sustain a feeling of high good humor throughout this appropriately long-and-narrow picture book for 3- to 8-year-olds."

Chicago Tribune:

"Blake is the forbidden fruit of pet paradise, the one your parents would never let you get. Blake helps with homework and with unwanted Brussels sprouts, and offers trivia facts about, who else, "Kenny 'The Snake' Stabler." A dream come true."

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“Randy Siegel and illustrator DyAnne DiSalvo perfectly capture the bond between children and their grandparents in this charming picture book about a little boy who sets out to find his grandmother's lost smile.”, Top 10 Books of 2010 for Kids:

“Kids who have traveled will identify with all the details and hassles of traveling.” 

Cleveland Plain Dealer:

“Happy watercolors, wry humor and a fine sense of family will please weary young travelers―and their grandmas.” 

School Library Journal:

“DiSalvo's watercolor illustrations bring to life Siegel's self-assured protagonist and his journey from the wintery north to his grandmother's arms.” 

Publishers Weekly:

“A wry and contemporary reality check on the going-to-Grandma's genre.”

Kirkus Reviews:

“Long-distance grandmothers everywhere will sympathize with Grandma as she searches for her lost smile in her grandson's picture, among his toys and in his bedroom, just as they will rejoice in the pair's loving reunion; those who read this may try a similar trick.” 


“This picture book accurately reflects many kids' experiences of airports, because it emphasizes the tedium of waiting as well as the long hallways, moving walkways, stairs, and escalators traversed. DiSalvo's mixed-media illustrations capture the child's experience with emotional warmth and rewarding attention to detail.”