Penny stocks are not "a smaller version of the stock market". They are more dangerous, volatile, and carry ALOT more risk. And no, I would not reccomend them for a beginner. If you are seriously interested in getting started in the stock market, pick up a few books, open your browser and go to your favorite internet search engine, type in "getting started in the stock market" or "stock market investing" and start READING. After a few weeks of reading and taking notes until youve learned the basics, head over to investopedia and open up a simulator account (ie an account that lets you invest/trade with FAKE money). Then you can start practicing a little to wet your feet, so that you understand how the mechanics of the market (executing trades) work.
In my experience, 99% of people who jump into penny stocks as their first venture into the stock market, do so because they like gambling or because their eyes got wide hearing about a stock that was pumped up 1000% in 2 days (the "Oh my God if I had only put my $4000 savings account into that stock I would have a fortune today!" syndrome). I regret to say that out of all of my friends who I have helped get started in the market in the past few years, MOST of them with this syndrome go broke very, very quickly. The ones who get good at playing the market and who DONT have a mentor to hold their hand early on....do what I mentioned above.
Making money your first few months/years in the stock market is nice, but the lessons you will learn early on are worth x10 any cash you might generate. Dont look to "make a quick buck", playing the pennies and hoping to get lucky right now. Learn to invest and trade the RIGHT way, so that you can make money for the next few decades doing it.