*"Plourde's lovely text about the ephemeral nature of objects and seasons-and the lasting love of family-is beautifully realized by Gal's expressive, digital collage illustrations. . . Adults may feel nostalgia over seasons past-and young readers will be introduced to the enticing lure of autumn and the joys of sharing it with someone they love."—Kirkus (starred review)
"The mutual adoration between Bella and Grams is abundantly evident in the tender exchanges Plourde puts together, as well as in Gal's gauzy, multilayered images, which capture both Bella's near-inexhaustible energy and that of a woodland landscape in flux."—Publishers Weekly
"With lively text and charming, vibrant cartoon illustrations, including ever-enthusiastic, colorfully clad Penelope and the more practical, low-key Tiny, this offers an entertaining, amusing read while insightfully portraying friendship's many facets, from appreciating differences to problem-solving disagreements to showing mutual support."—Booklist
"Cornelison's brightly colored cartoon illustrations capture the different personalities of the two friends right from the opening spread. . . Youngsters will enjoy chiming in on the repeated phrases and giggle at Penelope's over-the-top costumes. The addendum "Tips for a Spectacular Performance" is a helpful bonus. VERDICT A showstopper."—School Library Journal
* "A hippo with her own sense of style shows her 1-year-older, uptight, mouse best friend that it's important to be true to yourself. . .Plourde's dialogue includes lots of give-and-take between Penelope and Tiny, encouraging children to join in, and Cornelison's illustrations positively revel in Penelope's outr glee.
Penelope joins the ranks of some other popular nonconformists, including Ian Falconer's Olivia, David Shannon's Camilla Cream and Victoria Jamieson's Bea."—Kirkus (starred review)
"Penelope's avant-garde choices will certainly appeal to kids who think feather boas go with everything, while Tiny's concern is handled with tenderness and compassion-he really believes he's looking out for his friend. . .Clear writing, lively dialogue, and a solid story structure enhance this title's readaloud value as well. Cornelison's slightly soft-focus illustrations are strongly composed. . .Share this before or during the first day of school for an entertaining discussion prompt about individuality."—Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
"The text reads aloud smoothly, with Tiny's repeated, dismayed "Oh, no, no!" inviting participation. Cornelison is a master of facial expressions, displaying the characters' emotions for all to see. "Tips for a Hippo Happy First Day of School" are appended. Although plenty of starting-school books are available, this is a pleasant addition where more are needed."—School Library Journal