Reading/Interest Level: Intermediate
Author: Rebecca Chace
Illustrator: Kacey Schwartz
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
June Sparrow is perfectly fine living as a wealthy orphan with her miniature pig, Indigo Bunting, in their apt in New York. However, when her fortune is lost in a Ponzi scheme, June is forced to go live with her aunt Bridget in South Dakota. There she finds an old penny book and a cryptic message left by her mother. She is determined to figure out what her mother meant by the message and finish what she started by finding the “Big One”- a penny worth over a million dollars. Then she could move back to New York, away from her grouchy aunt and the rural town she calls home. In the end, she finds that she had the penny all along, hidden in a present her late mother left for her. With a fortune once more, June decides to stay in South Dakota with family and friends, just like her mother would have wanted.
This story is a great read, especially for intermediate readers. The storyline is interesting and fun and keeps the reader wanting for more, as they find out information only as fast as June does. The characters are loveable and often surprising. June is not the stereotypical snobby rich girl, but is rather friendly and usually tries to make the best of situations. This story utilizes the setting well to depict the varying cultures between rural small towns and booming cities. As June learns, there are good things to be had in every location, and what truly matters most is being with the people you care about. She learns that sometimes what we think we want is not actually what we need, and sometimes what we need is sitting right in front of us. An adorable book that any reader will love, June Sparrow and the Million Dollar Penny is worth every cent!