PENNY & JELLY and the Weird, Wacky, Wonderful Talents!

Happy, happy book birthday to the inside-and-out beautiful Maria Gianferrari and her perfectly darling debut, PENNY & JELLY: THE SCHOOL SHOW! From the Penny & Jelly web site: “This young and funny picture book showcases the soon-to-be star of her school talent show: Penny. With a little help from her dog Jelly, Penny realizes that she and Jelly have a unique talent to share – unlike any other in the show.”


What I love most about this book is that Penny is so resilient. She can’t immediately figure out what her talent is, so she exhausts every weird, wonderful, and wacky talent she can think of – and even when those talents don’t turn out to be so hot, she never stays beaten for long! She and Jelly are a great example of how to enjoy the creative process – and each other – without getting too hung up on results.

To celebrate Penny & Jelly’s birthday, the EMUs are here to share our own weird, wonderful, and wacky talents – and it turns out that we have quite a few!


That’s right, kid. Laurie cancelled Firefly with her mind.

Laurie Thompson “can go right back to sleep after getting woken up in the wee (or not so wee) hours of morning (useful when mothering small children… or pets). I can force new television series off the air simply by liking them. I can apparently go entire days without doing anything useful whatsoever. And I can (mostly) disguse my overwhelming shyness, extreme introversion, and social anxiety… at least for short periods of time.”

Penny Parker Klostermann’s “weird, wonderful, wacky talent is singing opera. But only to one song. And the one song isn’t meant to be sung in opera, but it’s so much fun when it is. The song is Sad Movies (make me cry), originally sung by Sue Thompson.  I shared this song opera-style at a college social. It wasn’t a talent show like in Penny and Jelly…but I think it was a hit in a weird, wonderful, wacky sort of way.”


Hey, Janet, a little help here. I dropped my wedding ring down this grate…

 Janet Fox is a Finder of Lost Things


Christine Hayes “is pretty good at walking into a thrift store or flea market and finding stuff worth reselling. I kind of have an eye for interesting and unusual decor pieces, and can usually judge on the spot if an item is overpriced or if there’s money to be made. Of course taste is subjective, and a lot of the stuff ends up in my house, so it’s not exactly a profitable talent. But it’s a fun one!”



This guy was probably hungry. Or a murderer.

Carole Gerber is “an amateur graphologist and can tell a lot about a person by examining his or her handwriting. Years ago, I wrote a paperback for children titled “Secrets Your Handwriting Reveals.” I got interested in the science (it actually is a science) of graphology because my dear, departed mother-in-law was a certified graphologist. She was sometimes hired by companies to analyze handwriting of potential hires to sort out those who showed undesirable traits -i.e., dishonesty, mental disorders, etc. My husband used to send her his girlfriends’ handwriting when he was in high school and college to get her “take” on what they were really like. I also showed her samples of my friends’ handwriting and was astonished at her accurate insights into people she had never met. Her skill intrigued me and I obsessively studied library books on the topic. My interest has waned over the years but I can still get a quick “read”on people by examining a few written sentences and a signature.”


Not this kind of bird.

Megan Morrison “can whistle like a bird. I don’t mean that I have a beautiful, sing-song whistle; I mean that I can whistle in such a way that it confuses people – and sometimes cats – into looking around for a bird. I do not know why or how I developed this talent, but so it is. I used to list it on my acting resume under Special Skills, and sometimes in auditions directors would call me on it. ‘Whistle like a bird,’ they would say, and then I would do it, and they would sit back and say ‘Huh,’ because by George, I had done it. Somehow, this delightful trick never landed me a Broadway role… but my 4-year-old son thinks it’s very funny that ‘a bird lives in my mouth’.”



Sing it, Adam.

Adam Shaughnessy’s talent is that “I sometimes have trouble remembering what I had for dinner the night before, but I have an uncanny ability to remember the theme song lyrics for almost any show or cartoon from the 1980s and can sing them upon demand. Of course, there are very few demands… possibly because “the ability to sing” does not also appear on anyone’s list of my talents.


Tam’s husband enables her with peanut-butter Valentines.


Tamara Ellis Smith says that “the one talent that I have been cultivating for as long as I can remember is my ability to put peanut butter on just about any food.  I practice every day—holidays and weekends included—and I have gotten pretty darn good at it, if I don’t say so myself.  🙂  I have peanut butter mixed into my oatmeal for breakfast, on apples for a snack, in the sauce I pour over vegetables for dinner.  I like it on pancakes, bananas, celery, tofu, to name a few more foods. And that’s the tip of the iceberg.  (The top of the jar?!)  Don’t even get me started on desserts… I have worked hard to strengthen my fingers to they can reach all of the way to the bottom of the jar, and I have repeatedly scraped the inside of peanut butter containers so that I know how to get every last bit of it out.”

Finally, Jennifer Chambliss Bertman has this to say:

I was drawing a blank on what my unique talents might be, so I decided to ask my three-year-old son for his input. This is the conversation we had:

Me: What is something Mama is really good at?
Son stares out car window, thinking . . . thinking . . .
Son: Ice cream.
Me: Ice cream? I’m good at ice cream?
Son: Yes.
Silence as I ponder this. I don’t make ice cream, and it’s probably been a month since we’ve had ice cream together. I decide to try again.
Me: You know how you’re really good at playing with your trains and doing Play-Doh? What is something Mama’s good at?
Son: Ice cream.
So there you have it. That’s my weird and wacky talent straight from the source of someone who spends a lot of time with me: Ice cream. And he might be onto something because shortly after that conversation, this happened:

Next time I’ll say that her talent is “Disneyland”.


All in all, the EMUs are a mob of wonderfully wacky weirdos, and just like Maria Gianferrari and her fearless protagonist Penny, we are not afraid to show it.

Don’t forget to comment for a chance to win a signed copy of PENNY & JELLY – or some PENNY & JELLY swag ! You can purchase it for yourself and everyone you know by visiting the web site and choosing the buying link that’s best for you.


Filed under Book Giveaway, Book Launch, Book Promotion, Celebrations, Launch, Picture books

19 responses to “PENNY & JELLY and the Weird, Wacky, Wonderful Talents!

  1. I can hardly wait to meet all you weird and wacky people next week. Megan, I love the photo you chose for my talent. If there are any murderers in our midst, I promise to root them out!

    Liked by 2 people

    • mariagianferrari

      The retreat will be so much fun! Enjoy it Carole, and everyone. Wish I were able to attend. Hopefully next year! I’ll have to have you analyze my handwriting some day–very cool!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. rubineleanor

    Penny and Jelly, long anticipated is finally here. What a marvelous day!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. tamaraellissmith

    I LOVE these talents! If I was going to be at the retreat next week I would demand a demonstration of each and every one of them!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Cathy Ballou Mealey

    Hurrah for Penny, Jelly and Maria!
    All of you EMU’ers are a talented lot indeed.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Yay Penny & Jelly! Yay Maria! So happy your book is out in the world today, Maria!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Congratulations and happy book birthday to Maria, Penny, and Jelly! I loved reading about everyone’s weird and wacky talents. So fun!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. jpetroroy

    Very, very impressed by this talented lot!

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Abby

    Love Penny and Jelly!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. mariagianferrari

    ❤ <3s to you, Megan! Love this post! We are a weird and wonderful and wacky bunch of Emus!! I so wish I could whistle like a bird!!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. This was weird, wacky, wonderful fun!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Carole Gerber’s talent of “reading” someone’s handwriting sounds very cool! I would love to hear what she might say about mine!

    Liked by 2 people

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