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Penny Dolan - Author

About the Author

Penny Dolan is well known for a host of books for younger readers. A Boy Called M.O.U.S.E, published by Bloomsbury in October 2010, is her first novel for older readers.

Penny grew up in North London, where her favourite things included a Pollock’s Toy Theatre, a ragged makeup bag full of used greasepaint, a small stuffed alligator and a wooden box of old paints. School taught her she was too tall to act, too awkward to be a dancer, to dim to learn the Reform Laws and not quite good enough an artist. Penny loved writing, having been saved from expulsion by school writing competition prizes, but she was losing confidence fast.

So she became a primary school teacher, where the things she most enjoyed teaching were drama, art, history and English. Luckily, she attended a writing course for teachers where, encouraged by authors Dennis Hamley and Jan Mark, she rediscovered her own writing. Eventually Penny gave up her enormous school painting table and left teaching to follow her “author” dream.

Penny now works happily as children’s writer and storyteller, dreaming up all sorts of characters in her head, acting them out within the words of her writing, as well as sharing stories with children and young people on her many school visits. Her writing includes picture book texts, early readers and novels for older children.  She enjoys djembe drumming, books, map-reading and art.

Penny lives in North Yorkshire and has one cat, two grown up children and three untidy desks.

Author photo © Michael James Dolan 2010

Featured books by Penny Dolan

Other books by Penny Dolan

Reading Champion: Flip the Flamingo Independent Reading Blue 4

Reading Champion: Flip the Flamingo Independent Reading Blue 4

Author: Penny Dolan Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 24/04/2018

Flip is a baby flamingo who discovers it's hard to stand on your own two feet, at first! Reading Champion offers independent reading books for children to practise and reinforce their developing reading skills. Fantastic, original stories are accompanied by engaging artwork and a reading activity. Each book has been carefully graded so that it can be matched to a child's reading ability, encouraging reading for pleasure. Independent Reading Blue 4 stories are perfect for children aged 5-6 who are reading at book band 4 (Blue) in classroom reading lessons.

Reading Champion: Little Spook Independent Reading Orange 6

Reading Champion: Little Spook Independent Reading Orange 6

Author: Penny Dolan Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 24/04/2018

In this story, Little Spook is afraid of something - but none of the Spook family can work out what is frightening him. Then a little firefly comes to the rescue ... Reading Champion offers independent reading books for children to practise and reinforce their developing reading skills. Fantastic, original stories are accompanied by engaging artwork and a reading activity. Each book has been carefully graded so that it can be matched to a child's reading ability, encouraging reading for pleasure. Independent Reading: Orange stories are perfect for children aged 5+ who are reading at book band 6 (Orange) in classroom reading lessons.

Reading Champion: Little Spook Independent Reading Orange 6

Reading Champion: Little Spook Independent Reading Orange 6

Author: Penny Dolan Format: Hardback Release Date: 14/12/2017

In this story, Little Spook is afraid of something - but none of the Spook family can work out what is frightening him. Then a little firefly comes to the rescue ... Reading Champion offers independent reading books for children to practise and reinforce their developing reading skills. Fantastic, original stories are accompanied by engaging artwork and a reading activity. Each book has been carefully graded so that it can be matched to a child's reading ability, encouraging reading for pleasure. Independent Reading: Orange stories are perfect for children aged 5+ who are reading at book band 6 (Orange) in classroom reading lessons.

Froglets: Pirate Hank's Plank

Froglets: Pirate Hank's Plank

Author: Penny Dolan Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 11/04/2017

Pirate Hank's Plank is an exciting story for all pirate fans who are beginning to read independently. Pirate Hank tells everyone to walk the plank. Joe wants to go first, and he has a great idea. The pirates have never had so much fun! The Froglets series is perfect for children aged 5-7 who are reading on their own, with fun stories of no more than 200 words.

The Runaway Loaf Level 13

The Runaway Loaf Level 13

Author: Penny Dolan Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 01/08/2016

Collins Arabic Big Cat is a guided reading series for ages 3 to 11. The series is structured with reference to the learning progression of Arabic at nursery and primary schools researched especially for Collins. This carefully graded approach allows children to build up their reading knowledge of Arabic step by step. Level 13 books feature longer and more complex sentence structures. Sentences make use of a wide range of stylistic features which reflect progression in the teaching of Arabic grammar. Stories may also contain more literary, metaphorical language, including similes and other figurative language to help the reader create mental images, plus exaggeration for dramatic or humorous effect. Non-fiction titles contain longer, more formal sentences and a broader range of unfamiliar terms. You won't catch me, you won't eat me...! This original twist on the traditional Gingerbread Man tale sees the crafty breadster zipping through India, past the well, the market, the temple, eluding all pursuers, until he reaches the river ... A visual summary of the Indian scenery on pages 30 and 31 helps children to recap the main events of the story.

Must Know Stories: Level 2: The Pied Piper of Hamelin

Must Know Stories: Level 2: The Pied Piper of Hamelin

Author: Penny Dolan Format: Hardback Release Date: 11/02/2016

The town of Hamelin has a big problem - there are rats everywhere! When a strange piper turns up and offers to solve the rat problem, the townspeople are eager to agree to his terms. But then they break their promises, and the Pied Piper is furious... A beautifully illustrated retelling of this favourite traditional story. Must Know Stories includes favourite tales, celebrating the diversity of our literary heritage. Level 2 stories are told in chapters in under 1000 words.

The Tinderbox Band 15/Emerald

The Tinderbox Band 15/Emerald

Author: Penny Dolan Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 05/01/2016

When Jack finds an old tinderbox, he doesn't think much of it, but the fact that someone else wants it so much makes him question his value. Indeed, as his wishes come true, there's only one last thing that he really wants. But will he be able to outwit the King and Queen and win the heart of the Princess before it's too late? Emerald/Band 15 books provide a widening range of genres including science fiction and biography, prompting more ways to respond to texts. Text type: A traditional tale Curriculum links: English: fairy stories, myths and legends This book has been quizzed for Accelerated Reader.

The Signalman: Two Ghost Stories Band 14/Ruby

The Signalman: Two Ghost Stories Band 14/Ruby

Author: Penny Dolan Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 21/09/2015

Discover these two creepy, ghostly stories originally written by Charles Dickens, retold here by Penny Dolan. In `The Signalman' messages warn of horrors to come, but will they be understood before it's too late? And in `The Face on the Train' a chance meeting inspires an artist to draw a portrait, but was the encounter chance after all? * Ruby/Band 14 books give increasing opportunities for children to develop their skills of inference and deduction. * This book has been quizzed for Accelerated Reader.

Tadpoles: Clever Little Monkey

Tadpoles: Clever Little Monkey

Author: Penny Dolan Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 14/07/2015

Clever Little Monkey really wants the bananas on the other side of the river - but the river is full of hungry crocodiles! Can he trick his way across? The Tadpoles series contains fun, original stories told in under 80 words and accompanied by bright illustrations, perfect for beginner readers.

Race Further with Reading: The Egyptian Cat Mystery

Race Further with Reading: The Egyptian Cat Mystery

Author: Penny Dolan Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 12/05/2015

There is something very strange about the Egyptian cat that Jed and Ruby spot in the museum, hidden among the Ancient Egypitan artefacts. Later on they come across a real cat, who follows them home. But this is no ordinary cat, as they are about to find out ... Race Further with Reading is the perfect tool to build reading confidence with illustrated stories in manageable bite-size chapters, following on from the Race Ahead with Reading series.

The Great Chapatti Chase Band 10/White

The Great Chapatti Chase Band 10/White

Author: Penny Dolan Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 16/01/2015

Run, run as fast as you can! You can't catch me, I'm Chapatti Man! But will Chapatti Man escape? * White/Band 10 books have more complex sentences and figurative language. * Text type: A traditional tale. * A visual summary of the Indian scenery on pages 30 and 31 helps children to recap the main events of the story.

The Lovely Duckling

The Lovely Duckling

Author: Penny Dolan Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 06/11/2014

The Little Red Hen

The Little Red Hen

Author: Penny Dolan Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 12/09/2014

Little Red Hen found some grains of wheat. Who will help her to grow them? A beautifully illustrated retelling of this favourite traditional story. Join Little Red Hen in her efforts to get some help around the farm yard! Must Know Stories includes favourite tales, celebrating the diversity of our literary heritage. Level 1 stories are told in under 500 words, for children to read independently.

Must Know Stories: Level 1: Hansel and Gretel

Must Know Stories: Level 1: Hansel and Gretel

Author: Penny Dolan Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 12/09/2014

Hansel and Gretel saw a pretty cottage, covered in gingerbread and sweets... A beautifully illustrated retelling of this favourite traditional story. Join Hansel and Gretel as they attempt to escape the wicked old witch. Must Know Stories includes favourite tales, celebrating the diversity of our literary heritage. Level 1 stories are told in under 500 words, for children to read independently.

A Christmas Carol Band 10/White

A Christmas Carol Band 10/White

Author: Penny Dolan Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 03/09/2012

Scrooge was not a kind man. One Christmas Eve he was visited by three ghosts, who took him on a journey from the past, through the present and in to the future. Was it too late for him to change his ways? This retelling of Charles Dickens' classic story is written by Penny Dolan. * White/Band 10 books have more complex sentences and figurative language. * Text type: A retelling of a story by a significant author * Curriculum links: Literacy: Extended stories/Significant authors. * This book has been quizzed for Accelerated Reader.

A Boy Called MOUSE

A Boy Called MOUSE

Author: Penny Dolan Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 01/08/2011

'Once upon a time there was a boy, and they called him Mouse . . . ' That is how the story began when I told it to myself in the long darkness. Of course, it wasn't the whole story, but back then I knew nothing, almost nothing at all . . . Mouse is unaware of his privileged background: of Epton Towers, the luxurious home in which he was born, and its magnificent surrounding grounds. Instead he lives a happy and carefree life with Hanny and Isaac on Roseberry Farm - until one day when the evil Mr Button threatens Hanny and Isaac and takes Mouse away. Mr Button installs Mouse at grim Murkstone Hall, a school that lives and breathes terror. Can Mouse escape and find his way to his true family again? A brilliantly evoked tale full of memorable characters, including Nick Tick, the tiny but clever clockmaker, Aunt Indigo and Aunt Violet, two strong-minded seamstresses and washerwomen, and Charlie Punch and his amazing dog Toby. These warm-hearted and generous characters see the plight of Mouse and each in their own way help him towards his destiny. But will they be enough to upset the continual scheming of the villainous Mr Button?

Start Reading: The Forest Family: Danger in the Forest

Start Reading: The Forest Family: Danger in the Forest

Author: Penny Dolan Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 01/06/2010

The children head off into the forest to find some berries for dinner. But as they wander into a clearing a large boar rushes out from the trees. How will the children get away? This story is perfect for learning about life during the Stone Age.

Start Reading: The Forest Family: The Winter Cave

Start Reading: The Forest Family: The Winter Cave

Author: Penny Dolan Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 01/06/2010

The weather is turning and winter is fast approaching. Grandpa must get the winter cave ready for the tribe. This story is perfect for learning about life in the Stone Age.

Hopscotch: Fairy Tales: The Pied Piper Of Hamelin Hopscotch Fairy Tales

Hopscotch: Fairy Tales: The Pied Piper Of Hamelin Hopscotch Fairy Tales

Author: Penny Dolan Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 01/09/2007

The Third Elephant

The Third Elephant

Author: Penny Dolan Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 02/04/2007

Follow the trail of a small wooden elephant in this fairy tale full of hope and wonder, designed for readers gaining in confidence. A small wooden elephant is gathering dust in an old house, dreaming of a beautiful white palace, when he's flung into an adventure and finds himself helping three children: Sara, a shy young musician, Nita, who has something to prove, and Jack, who's angry with his mum's new boyfriend... Leaving happiness in his wake - and making several small, whiskery friends along the way - the elephant goes on a magical journey across India, and finally fulfils his dream of seeing the Taj Mahal.

Mr Pod And Mr Piccalili

Mr Pod And Mr Piccalili

Author: Penny Dolan Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 01/11/2005

Mr Pod lives upstairs on his own with his cat Tod. Mr Piccalilli lives downstairs on his own with his cat Millie. Wouldn't it be nice if they could meet and be friends? Well, one day the cats go missing - and they do!

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