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Published: 1914
Language: English
Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease: 66
LoC Category: PS
Downloads: 1,655 6827

This is a picture of a boy's heart, full of the lovable, humorous, tragic things which are locked secrets to most older folks. It is a finished, exquisite work.

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on a simple apparatus consisting of an old bushel-basket with a few yards of clothes-line tied to each of its handles. He passed the ends of the lines over a big spool, which revolved upon an axle of wire suspended from a beam overhead, and, with the aid of this improvised pulley, lowered the empty basket until it came to rest in an upright position upon the floor of the storeroom at the foot of the sawdust-box.

"Eleva-ter!" shouted Penrod. "Ting-ting!"

Duke, old and intelligently apprehensive, approached slowly, in a semicircular manner, deprecatingly, but with courtesy. He pawed the basket delicately; then, as if that were all his master had expected of him, uttered one bright bark, sat down, and looked up triumphantly. His hypocrisy was shallow: many a horrible quarter of an hour had taught him his duty in this matter.

"El-e-VAY-ter!" shouted Penrod sternly. "You want me to come down there to you?"

Duke looked suddenly haggard. He pawed the basket feebly again and, upon another outburst f


Average Rating of 5 from 3 reviews: *****

A fun story of an 11 year old boy and his antics, thoughts, and desires. I love the author’s line: "This is a boy's lot: anything he does, anything whatever, may afterward turn out to have been a crime-he never knows." The follow-up book is Penrod and Sam, I plan to read next. Despite being a story about a child, the reading level and entertainment is geared towards an adult reader. As is common in novels of that era, there are some terms that are considered disrespectful to African American, but the references are infrequent and two of Penrod’s friends are black.


I first read this book when I was about 12 years old, and laughed until I thought I would die. I proceeded to re-read it a dozen times over the years, and have, with each reading, appreciated it more and more for the absolute classic work that it is. Any man who has has any fun in boyhood at all will recognize himself in this book, and Tarkington's follow-ups to it. It is utterly delightful, and I am unceasingly amazed at Tarkington's ability to get into the heads of people so young (boys and girls alike), and to make them fascinating to readers of all ages.

A classic. Not to be missed. Trust me.

Richard Bohan

This is one of the great books of all time for pre-teen boys. The author is a two-time winner of the Pulitzer prize. In this book he has managed to present the adventures of a twelve year old boy, presented entirely from the boy's point of view. That is a major accomplishment. Penrod is a boy--not a "good boy" and not a "bad boy--but simply a boy engaged in experimenting with his place in the world. The overall story has a gentle humor to it, interupted by a few slap-stick chapters. The fact that these chapters usually revolve some black boys who are friends of Penrod's has led some to accuse Tarkington of being a racist. This overstates the case, but as a novelist he was not above using current stereotypes to please his readers.

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