What’s black and white and read all over? It’s a riddle that has spanned generations.
Today the answer is: A passel of books full of black-and-white critters.
This hilarious tale of a dismal, grumpy penguin made me laugh out loud in the bookstore.
The dour commentary begins, actually, on the jacket flap, with yours truly, one flumpy, fractious penguin grousing that we probably won’t even finish reading this book about him because why would anyone and you’ll probably get a bunch of paper cuts in the process anyway. Hrumph,hrumph,hrumph.
What seems to be the problem? Well, for one, it’s too early in the morning. And his beak is cold. And the sun’s too bright and the ocean too salty.
This guy clearly got up on the wrong side of the iceberg today and nothing, but nothing, is going to cheer him up. You wanna talk about problems? I have so many problems! he cries. This guy is the Bob Wiley of the penguin world.
There is a moment. A chance encounter with a sage walrus who attempts loquaciously to lift the penguin’s eyes up from his troubles and out onto the beauty of the world, but…well, have you tried that with a grumpus? Do you think it works?
Exactly the right touch of wry humor leads us skippeting through this very funny book, all to the tune of Jory John’s priceless illustrations. So brilliant, the volume of personality and emotion he can cram into one small lump of a penguin. Sure to put a smile on your faces even on One of Those Days. Ages 3 and up.
Jenni Desmond won me over in one swish with her first title, The Blue Whale, reviewed here. Now she’s back with another gorgeous book about those burly arctic giants, the polar bear.
Desmond’s genius is in providing the fascination of non-fiction, written with clarity and not a snitch of talking down, combined with her superb artwork that incorporates a zephyr of imagination. The results are at the pinnacle of enticing nonfiction. Can I say it again — I love her work!