Published September 27th 2016 by Random House Books for Young Readers
Format read: ARC via publisher
Have you ever considered running away to Antarctica? Of course you have! Because it’s a land free of worries and responsibilities! All of your problems will surely be blown away by the icy winds of that lawless paradise! . . . Won’t they?
Think again, my friend. This penguin has come to tell you that his life down there is no more a picnic than yours is here. For starters, it is FREEZING. Also, penguins have a ton of natural predators. Plus, can you imagine trying to find your mom in a big ol’ crowd of identical penguins? No, thank you.
Yes, it seems there is no escaping the drudgery of your daily grind, whatever it might be. Or perhaps we’ve just learned that grumps are everywhere. . . .
John introduces us to Penguin, who is rather annoyed with the world. Nothing's to Penguin's liking - the cold, the snow and even Penguin's breakfast are just not up to snuff. But wisdom comes in the form of a new friend...
There are so many things to delight in about John's book - I mean, just look at the illustration on that cover! - but my absolutely favorite thing about this book is John's ability to breathe life into a simple, age-old adage: looking on the bright side of life.
John charmingly shows how easy it is to fall into a rut of complaining, and creating a glass half-empty approach to life Thanks in part to Lane Smith's beautifully detailed illustrations, it's also easy to believe Penguin's assertions, because of Penguin's adamant expression and hilariously grumpy movements.
So it makes Walrus's sage advice all the more impactful, when he encourages Penguin to look at the world in a different way. But John makes it a point of not sounding patronizing or belittling when having Walrus make that point, which will likely be appreciated by younger readers who have struggled to make that same mental transition as Penguin.
Bottom line: this is a delightful book, full stop. Highly, highly recommend.
About the author and the illustrator:
JORY JOHN is the author of the picture books I Will Chomp You!, Quit Calling Me a Monster!, and the E.B. White Read-Aloud Honor Book Goodnight Already!. He is the co-author of the New York Times bestselling novel, The Terrible Two, and the national bestseller All my friends are dead, among many other books. He is also the editor of Thanks and Have Fun Running the Country: Kids’ Letters to President Obama. For six years, Jory taught writing at 826 Valencia, a nonprofit writing and educational center in San Francisco.
LANE SMITH has written and illustrated a bunch of stuff including Grandpa Green which was a 2012 Caldecott Honor book, It's a Book which has been translated into over twenty five languages, and The True Story of the Three Little Pigs. His books have been New York Times Best Illustrated Books on four occasions. In 2012 The Eric Carle Museum named him an Honor Artist for "lifelong innovation in the field of children's books." In 2014 he received the Society of Illustrators Lifetime Achievement award. Lane and book designer Molly Leach live in rural Connecticut.