Penguin’s Hidden Talent

Alex Latimer. Peachtree, $15.95 (32p) ISBN 978-1-56145-629-1
Aesthetically, Latimer’s story recalls Oliver Jeffers’s The Great Paper Caper (2009), which also stars a crew of animals that walk upright on spindly legs in a snowy landscape. But Latimer (The Boy Who Cried Ninja) is more focused on simple whimsy in this encouraging, believe-in-yourself tale. Unable to find a skill worthy of the upcoming talent show, Penguin settles for helping organize it. When Penguin’s friends, eager to cheer him up, throw him a thank-you party, they make a hash of it (“thaks pemgin” reads Albatross’s banner), and Penguin discovers that his boring organizational abilities are, in fact, a talent. Lots of goofy interpolations add sauce to the story line as the contestants juggle blenders and toasters or swallow fish whole. “Is that the King of Norway?” Rabbit asks Bear, as a motivational speaker in a crown launches into an inspirational speech. “Ooh, yes,” says Bear, “I believe it is.” Though the story has a certain predictability, Latimer’s asides are quite funny, and the book is a standout in another category, too: not many picture books champion ordinary administrative skills. Ages 4–8. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 09/17/2012
Release date: 08/01/2012
Genre: Children's
Paperback - 32 pages - 978-0-552-56267-6
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