Book Reviews: Penny Lee and Her TV; When Charlie McButton Lost Power

Author: Glenn McCoy
Interest Level: Ages 4-7

About This Book: Penny Lee loves her TV. It is her best friend. It keeps her warm on winter nights and comforted during thunderstorms.

Penny Lee also has a dog, Mr. Barkley. He loves Penny Lee, but he does not love her TV. So what happens when the TV stops working?

Author: Suzanne Collins
Illustrator: Mike Lester
Interest Level: Ages 5-9

About This Book: Charlie McButton likes computer games so much, he never plays with anything else. When a thunderstorm knocks out the electricity, his tech empire comes tumbling down, and his whole world loses power. Charlie needs batteries—FAST! But the only triple- A's he can find are in his little sister's talking doll. Will he resort to desperate measures and cause his sister to have a meltdown of her own? Or will he snap out of his computer craze long enough to realize his sister might be fun, even if she doesn't come with batteries? Collins and Lester team up for a hilarious and timely tale that will crack up young computer addicts and those who love them!

Why They Are On My Bookshelf: I wasn't planning on blogging about these two books but I changed my mind. So here's the deal...these are important reads for the littles. Okay, so we've all heard the awful statistics about kids watching too much TV, addicted to their XBoxes and PS3's, and setting world records text messaging. So as the school year wraps up, I've been sharing Penny Lee and Charlie McButton with students as a reminder to get out there this summer and MOVE and UNPLUG.  When I asked kids why they thought video games and TV could be harmful to kids - you wouldn't believe the responses. They know EXACTLY why too much technology can be a negative thing in their lives. These stories are funny and such a great conversation starter about the importance of unplugging.

A Link to These Books:


  1. Great suggestions, especially during our No TV Week that happens in the Spring. They would both be excellent selections to read to get kids to visualize the damage that too much TV can incur! Thanks!

  2. I did a little bubble chart with kids (3rd grade) on what they thought the negative impacts were from video kid said, 'all the nudity.' WHAT!?! I grew up on pac man. These are two great books to start the conversation.