A Stellar Selection! Penny and Jelly: Slumber Under the Stars

9780544280052_lresPenny & Jelly: Slumber Under the Stars
HMH Books for Young Readers, June 2016

Written by Maria Gianferrari, illustrated by Thrya Heder

In this young and funny picture book companion to Penny & Jelly: The School Show, Penny is invited to go to a slumber-under-the-stars sleepover—but with no pets allowed, how can Penny enjoy the night? Readers of Pinkalicious and Ladybug Girl will swoon over best friends Penny & Jelly.

Maria graciously agreed to answer a few questions for Bildebok readers about what inspires her work and what tickles her funny bone. Read on for her terrific answers!

  • Where are you most likely to be inspired for a book idea?

Nature, especially if it’s a work of nonfiction. I often get ideas while walking my dog, Becca. The other perfect place for ideas is in the shower.

  •  If you could be any character in a children’s book, who would you be?

twig 2That’s a tough one, but I’ll go with the first one that popped in my head. One of my favorite picture books as a kid was Miss Twiggley’s Tree by Dorothea Warren Fox. I still have my childhood copy. Miss Twiggley lived in a treehouse, with her dog, Puss, and two bears. She’s quirky and a bit of a recluse. It was my introvert dream come true.

If Maria’s answer intrigues you as it did me, you can find out more about this title in a fun review from Vintage Kids’ Books My Kid Loves by blogger Burgin Streetman. Here’s a little excerpt of the text:

Funny Miss Twiggley
Lived in a tree
With a dog named Puss
And a color TV.
She did what she liked, and she liked what she did,
But when company came
Miss Twiggley hid.

  •  Do you have any favorite jokes about stars or dogs?

 I have two!

Q: Did you hear about the dyslexic, agnostic insomniac?

A: He stayed up all night wondering if there was a dog.

Q: Why didn’t the dog star laugh at the joke?

A: It was too Sirius. (Ha-ha!)

The Mercator Globes at Harvard Map Collection. 1551

The Mercator Globes at Harvard Map Collection. 1551

I have to admit I am a little rusty on my astronomy, so here’s a fun link to Rita’s Dog Blog for those who want to brush up on Sirius and canine constellation maps.

Thank you Maria for visiting and getting us excited about the next chapter in the Penny & Jelly series! 

Author photo courtesy of Monogram Arts Photo

Author photo courtesy of Monogram Arts Photo

Maria Gianferrari hasn’t slumbered under the stars recently, but she has two favorite stars: the dog star, Sirius, like Penny and Jelly, and Betelgeuse – because it’s so fun to say! Maria stargazes from her backyard in Virginia with her husband, Niko, an amateur astrophotographer, her artist-daughter, Anya, and the dog star of her household, Becca. Visit her website, mariagianferrari.com and follow Penny & Jelly at pennyandjelly.com.

Also available: my interview with Maria from her debut launch in July, 2015. 

Follow the P&J blog tour:2015 July 023
June 9th  Pragmatic Mom
June 10th  Mamabelly’s Lunches with Love
June 13th  Little Crooked Cottage + Homemade City
June 14th  Kid Lit Frenzy
June 15th  Miss Marple’s Musings
June 16th  Bildebok
June 17th  Writing for Kids (While Raising Them)

***NEWSFLASH***Special Giveaway***
To win your very own copy of Penny & Jelly: Slumber Under the Stars, please leave a comment below and I will enter you in the drawing! If you’ve already commented – your name is in the drawing!

Congrats Teresa Robeson! A copy of
Penny & Jelly: Slumber Under the Stars

will be winging its way to you soon!


About Cathy Ballou Mealey

Children's book author, repped by Liza Fleissig of the Liza Royce Agency. Wife, mother, daughter, sister, alumna, autism advocate, book reviewer. Reach me via email at cmealey@post.harvard.edu or Twitter @catballoumealey
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28 Responses to A Stellar Selection! Penny and Jelly: Slumber Under the Stars

  1. rnewman504 says:

    Maria and Cathy, Such a fun interview! Congrats Maria and much success with your latest book.

  2. mariagianferrari says:

    Cathy–you’ve outdone yourself–again! Thank you for this lovely post!!

    I loved both the review for Miss Twiggley’s Tree–the rhyme is so fun to read aloud.

    And Rita’s Dog Blog is wonderful too! I hadn’t heard of Chara & Anterion :)!

    ❤ ❤ ❤

  3. Great interview! And, in spite of myself, I laughed at the dyslexic, agnostic insomniac joke.

  4. Thanks for this post. Interesting interview. I just ordered Miss Twiggley’s Tree from my library and will be checking out the Penny and Jelly books as well.

  5. Such a cute Q&A and review of Maria’s book! I like her jokes, too (much harder to make a joke about Procyon–the brightest star in Canis Minor–than Sirius…LOL!).

  6. What a fun interview! I have Penny& Jelly on my list to read. Perfect summer read for kids! Enjoyed your interview with Maria. Good luck with your book tour!

  7. Okay this a great post for the blog tour! Penny & Jelly sound precious and Maria’s insights were also terrific. Don’t often get to read jokes in a post so thanks for the laughs this Thursday!

  8. I can’t wait to read this new Penny & Jelly…and not just because her name is Penny 🙂 Mostly because I LOVED the first Penny & Jelly.
    Miss Twiggley’s Tree sounds delightful. I just requested it through interlibrary loan. Yay!
    Congrats, Maria.

  9. mariagianferrari says:

    ❤ ❤ to another favorite Penny of mine :)!!
    As a rhymer extraordinaire yourself, I think you'll love the rhyme in Miss Twiggley's Tree. How cool that your library had it–yay!! Enjoy!!

  10. tinamcho says:

    Nice interview! How cool you two met!

    • And I’m looking forward to seeing Maria in July when she comes to Massachusetts for her next book celebration. As you know Tina, the bonds in the kidlit community are strong! Thanks for visiting : )

    • mariagianferrari says:

      Thanks, Tina!!

      Cathy and Grace came–so nice of them! It was great to finally be able to meet in person! She is a sweetheart.

      Thanks for hosting P&J again, Cathy!! ❤ ❤

  11. mariagianferrari says:

    Me, too, Cathy!!

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