THE ORIGINAL WEST COAST character that inspires this site was first created by my now grown daughter, Holly, when she was small. The art evolved into a line of greeting cards and is featured in a children's book called With my Umbrella, I Can: The Magical Journey of Penelope Puddle.
Penelope Puddle's authentically portrayed West Coast scenes show an imaginative little girl playing creatively with a small black umbrella "wand". A tangle of windswept hair and hat conceal her facial expressions but her body language and clever inventions speak volumes.
It is easy to see Penelope relishes every sunbeam, drizzle and drop of life in such rhythmic phases as:
Wheee! I can swing in the rain and get very wet ...
I can build a nest for a feathery guest ...
I can float in a boat on the pond, with my wand ...
I can cross to a bog on a slippery log ...
I can teach my toes a trick that is slick ...
I can go to the beach with a treat that is sweet ...
I can put on a costume and ride on my broom ...
I can stare at a storm and roar, crash, bang, boom ...
Benefits to teachers, parents and children when reading the story are:
Advances listening skills through rhymes and alternating rhythm
Expands imagination and differentiates between fact and fantasy
Builds observational skills, comprehension and recall of details
Guides toward logical conclusions and making predictions
Stimulates the development of reasoning and judgement
Penelope and her sidekick umbrella are the stars of the story that facilitate curiosity, endless discussion and opportunities to learn:
Where does Penelope live and under what weather conditions
What seasonal and/or geographical changes are illustrated in the story
What causes Penelope to imagine her umbrella has special qualities
In what ways is the umbrella more like a friend to Penelope
When does the umbrella function as it would in reality
How does the umbrella function purely as fantasy
The umbrella sometimes is a substitute for what objects
What drawings show the umbrella opened … closed … inside out
What words would you use to describe Penelope’s umbrella
If you could choose any umbrella, what would it look like
How would you decorate YOUR special umbrella
What TWO WORDS in the story make the umbrella magical
How would you use your umbrella, IF it were magical
The updated physical book is newly available with hands-on features to facilitate fun and curiosity about Penelope's world and vivid imagination.
Maria Pavlik withdrew the (Trafford, 2008) paperback version of With My Umbrella, I Can: The Magical Journey Of Penelope Puddle with light cover and internal wear several years ago. There are possibly previously purchased copies being sold now by unassociated third parties but no such new books are authorized to be produced or distributed.
The author (and originator of this blog) maintains exclusive rights to the book and all future versions of it as well as any other products representing the Penelope Puddle character. Although Pavlik plans to redesign and eventually present the work under different formats, the primary illustrations, concept and storyline will remain unchanged.