|When Penny was little, she and her sister would make books. They were tiny little books made for dolls and teddies, or for cut-out dolls living in tiny little homemade cardboard houses. The books all had tiny illustrations and tiny stories. Books have always been a large part of Penny’s life.
The first book she ever won was called The Little House. She was six at the time. The book was first prize for a drawing she’d done. And this most treasured possession is still close to her heart. How awesome it is to be able to pick up books she herself has since written and/or illustrated and hope that they will be as loved and treasured as The Little House was by her.
The first book Penny did for Scholastic was Mum Goes to Work (written by Libby Gleeson). It was quite a challenge at the time. She worked closely with Libby since this work was a project close to Libby’s heart. Both Libby and Penny were working mothers and felt it an important book about what some mothers did at work, and what the children did during the day. The book was short-listed for the Multicultural Awards.
Penny’s second book for Scholastic was Madeline’s New Boots. This time Penny both wrote and illustrated the book. Madeline hates the new boots Mum has bought her and thinks of what she’d rather wear. Penny thinks that the idea came from a pair of horror boots her mother made her wear when she was little. Madeline’s story has a happy ending. Penny’s didn’t, since the only way out of avoiding the boots in the end was by growing big feet!
Penny’s latest book for Scholastic is again both written and illustrated by her—Encore! Encore! Miss Fine’s Music and Dance Academy is having an end-of-year spectacular. We join the kids and watch them practising and practising and practising . . . and wonder how they are ever going to be ready for the big occasion at the end of the year.
When Penny illustrates she tries to inject an electrical current through her drawings and keep the characters full of life and activity. Her books offer children lots of levels to observe and learn from, and to enjoy at the same time.