Penguin Problems

Penguin Problems book cover

A droll penguin and delightful illustrations make this a laugh-out-loud great book to read aloud.

Penguin Problems
by Jory John; illustrated by Lane Smith
Random House, 2016
ISBN 978-0-553-51337-0
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 29 cm
Picture book, fiction, humorous
Interest level: K and up; reading level: 1.5
5 out of 5 stars

This book will be a sure hit with kids of all ages! Starting with the front cover, Lane Smith’s illustrations perfectly match Jory John’s tone to deliver a funny story about a disgruntled penguin and the tribulations he faces every day. The cover shows a kaleidoscope of identical penguins, except for one, who is looking at his fellow penguins with mild disgust.

The story actually starts on the opening cover flap, and sets the tone. Since not everyone reads the cover flap, I am going to include it here:

Oh, you’re going to read this book? Somehow I seriously doubt that. I bet you won’t even finish reading this flap.
Don’t worry about it. Why would you want to learn about some penguin’s problems when you have plenty of problems of your own? Just look around. The world’s a mess!
Besides, you probably don’t even like penguins. Heck, I barely like penguins and I am a penguin.

Seriously, I’ll understand if you put the book back on the shelf. Go ahead. It’s for the best.
I’m sure you’d just get a bunch of paper cuts, anyway. And you’d probably bend the pages. And you’d get your little fingerprints everywhere.

When was the last time you washed those grubby hands of yours?
No offense.

Listen: I’m going back to bed.
Read, don’t read.
Buy, don’t buy.

Just try not to wake me up.

I’m a light sleeper.

And I have a lot on my mind.

As our penguin narrator quickly points out, being a penguin is tough: cold beaks, can’t fly, leopard seals, sharks, everybody looks the same…

Just when penguin feels nobody cares, a walrus shares some wisdom that helps penguin realize that he does love things about his life, and it’s the only one he gets, so he should focus on the positive. This is a great message to share with young readers! Even if it really is cold, and gets dark early….

Children will love the humor of the complaining penguin, his droll expression, and the fun, minimal illustrations. This would make a laugh-out-loud great book to read aloud.

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