Penguins are famous for waddling, eating fish, and assiduously guarding their eggs. They are less known for their adventuring skills, but (pleasingly) in Alex T. Smith's latest novel we are introduced to Mr. Penguin, the Indiana Jones of the penguin world. You can tell he's adventurous by the arrow through his hat.
Mr. P is having a slow day at the office until he receives a desperate call; the owner of the Museum of Extraordinary Objects (Miss Bones) pleads with him to find the missing treasure which will save the Museum from disaster. Pausing only to remove his bottom from its uncomfortable position wedged in a waste paper basket, Mr. Penguin sets out, accompanied by his trusty sidekick Colin, a taciturn spider who is nevertheless an excellent strategist and also conveniently well versed in various Martial Arts.
It will surprise no-one to hear that this mission is far from straightforward. There is danger. There is double-cross. There is a jungle with treacherous waterfalls, there are caves, there is kidnapping, there are giant alligators. Fortunately, there is also a map with clues, and a fish finger sandwich which Mr. Penguin sensibly brought with him and which he would very much like to eat, if only those tiresome villains would give him a minute.
Those who enjoy Alex T. Smith's hugely popular Claude books will be delighted by Mr. Penguin. He saves the day with wit and charm, after overcoming just the right amount of peril. The illustrations are full of the kind of rewarding detail which will keep young readers happily engaged and eager for more. I loved it and it deserves to be a huge success. 6+
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