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Cover 1st edition of Penrod.jpg
First edition
AuthorBooth Tarkington
CountryUnited States
PublisherDoubleday, Page
Publication date
Media typePrint (hardcover)
Followed byPenrod and Sam 

Penrod is a collection of comic sketches by Booth Tarkington that was first published in 1914. The book follows the misadventures of Penrod Schofield, an eleven-year-old boy growing up in the pre-World War I Midwestern United States, in a similar vein to The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.[1][2] In Penrod, Tarkington established characters who appeared in two further books, Penrod and Sam (1916) and Penrod Jashber (1929). The three books were published together in one volume, Penrod: His Complete Story, in 1931.

A "Revised" edition of Penrod, "revising or omitting certain ethnic descriptions from the original Penrod manuscript that might be considered offensive or inappropriate", was published by Lasso Books (ISBN 1548402109) in 2017[3] and released in audio-book format in 2018.[4]


  • Chapters 1-6: Penrod, against his will, is cast as "The Child Sir Lancelot" in the local production The Pageant of the Table Round.
  • Chapters 7-11: After seeing a movie about the Evils of Drink, Penrod uses the film's plot as an excuse for daydreaming in class.
  • Chapters 12-14: It's the Annual Cotillion for Penrod's Dancing Class, and Penrod, who's known as "The Worst Boy in Town", has to find a female partner.
  • Chapters 15-17: It's summer vacation. After meeting Herman and Verman, the children of a local black family, Penrod and Sam set up a show which becomes even more popular by the addition of the son of the most socially prominent family in town, which by coincidence shares the same last name as a notorious convicted murderess.
  • Chapters 18-20: A dollar, given to him by his sister's boyfriend to leave them alone, proves Penrod's undoing.
  • Chapters 21-23: Penrod meets a local tough kid and falls victim to hero-worship of the same.
  • Chapters 24-25: Penrod hates to be called a "Little Gentleman", and the local barber's urging other children to keep calling him that leads to an explosive and very sticky situation.
  • Chapters 26-27: Penrod, Sam and other local boys' discussing what they want to be when they grow up leads to some interesting, not to say embarrassing, results.
  • Chapters 28-31: It's Penrod's twelfth birthday, and the arrival of a pretty new girl from New York turns his party into an occasion no one in town may ever forget.


Penrod, its sequels, and characters occurring therein were adapted in numerous stage and film versions.

On September 25, 1949, a one-hour adaptation by Robert Gray was broadcast on NBC University Theater, with Johnny McGovern as Penrod and Jeffrey Silver as Sam.[9]


  1. ^ Robert Cortes Holliday, "Booth Tarkington", BiblioLife (June 4, 2009)
  2. ^ Frederic I. Carpenter, "The Adolescent in American Fiction", The English Journal, Vol. 46, No. 6 (Sep., 1957), pp. 313–319
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^ "Audience liked 'Penrod'". Variety. L (13): 14. May 24, 1918. Retrieved 2015-03-21 – via Internet Archive.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g Drew, Bernard A. (2013). Motion Picture Series and Sequels: A Reference Guide. Taylor & Francis. p. 252. ISBN 978-1-317-92893-5.
  7. ^ "Penrod and Sam". Catalog of Feature Films. American Film Institute. Retrieved 2015-03-21.
  8. ^ "Three Shorts a Week Vitaphone Studio Plan". The Film Daily. LVI (58): 24. September 6, 1931. Retrieved 2015-03-21 – via Internet Archive.
  9. ^

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