"Well-paced, bursting with humor, and charmingly misanthropic. (Picture book. 3-7)" --Kirkus Reviews Starred Review
Being a penguin is no day at the park: "It's way too early. My beak is cold. What's with all the squawking, you guys?" John's bumbling, bleary-eyed penguin has a hard time on land, and the ocean depths are even worse: "Oh, great. A leopard seal. Oh, great. A shark.... What is it with this place?" Then there's the matter of parents: "Mom?" the penguin asks another penguin near a crowd of look-alike penguins. "I literally have no idea who you are," the other penguin replies. Just when things look hopeless, a passing walrus offers a comforting (if long-winded) sermon, and the penguin gets a moment of respite from his angst. John (I Love You Already) delivers a rat-a-tat series of laughs, and Smith's (There Is a Tribe of Kids) mottled, minimalist polar landscapes highlight the penguin's awkward moments. His story is classic comedy, an examination of the delicate balancing act between total despair ("I have so many problems! And nobody even cares!" the penguin cries) and the resolve to stumble on. Ages 3-7. Agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. (Sept.)Copyright 2016 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.
PreS-Gr 2--It's not easy being a penguin. As a world-weary avian narrator points out, there's plenty that can (and does) go wrong: "My beak is cold." "It snowed some more last night, and I don't even like the snow." "The ocean smells too salty today." An even chillier fishing expedition does not improve his demeanor: "Oh, great. An orca. Oh, great. A leopard seal. Oh, great. A shark. What is it with this place?" Smith's sponge-textured illustrations expand upon the text's downbeat doldrums with visual humor and delightfully deadpan facial expressions. Still hungry, the penguin pulls out of the water just before being gulped down by the bigger seal (which is about to be consumed by the even larger shark, about to be swallowed by the huge orca). His melancholy monologue continues until a stately walrus catches his attention and delivers a wise (and lengthy and slightly bombastic) oration about appreciating the good things in life. Grudgingly, Penguin embraces a new perspective. He sits on a pristine peak, gazes at gracefully falling flurries, and muses, "Maybe things will work out, after all"--or not (the page turn reveals that the gentle snowflakes have turned into a full-fledged storm and Penguin has resumed his grousing). This sublime pairing of author and artist results in a rib-tickling exploration of what it means to look at the unsunny side. VERDICT Share this book with Claire Messer's Grumpy Pants for a storytime starring persnickety penguins.--Joy Fleishhacker, School Library JournalCopyright 2016 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.