Penguin's Hidden Talent

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Editorial Reviews

The New York Times Book Review
There are plenty of arch asides that parents will enjoy in this droll little book…
—Pamela Paul
Publishers Weekly
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.)
Children's Literature - Suzanna E. Henshon
Have you ever been in a talent show? With the annual talent show just around the corner, everyone is practicing. But Penguin can't figure out what his talent is. He is not very good at baking, map reading, or knitting. So what is he good at? All Penguin can do is swallow a sardine and break a blender by throwing it up a tree. When Penguin tries doing a magic trick, he cannot bring back Rabbit's watch. So Penguin decides to help organize the talent show by making phone calls, sending emails, and drawing posters. To Penguin's delight, the talent show is terrific; everyone loves the opening ceremony which has fireworks, jets, and good music. The judges award medals of excellence to albatross, fox, and rabbit. Everyone has a medal except for Penguin who sadly walks home through the snow. But at the end of this magical story, Penguin discovers he is an excellent party planner, and he sets up shop with brand-new business cards. Young readers will enjoy this lovely book, which has a fun storyline and humorous illustrations. Reviewer: Suzanna E. Henshon, Ph.D.
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 1—Penguin's community is putting on a talent show that will include juggling, fish swallowing, magic, and, perhaps most importantly, burping the alphabet. But Penguin can't do any of these things. And as his friends continue to suggest ideas, it becomes apparent that he doesn't have any of the traditional talents, so he decides to help organize the show instead. It goes very smoothly and boasts such novelties as the King of Norway speaking on self-confidence, a famous band playing, and fireworks. After his friends try their hand at what Penguin has done so easily, they begin to realize his true talent-organizing events-and he is honored for his skills. The illustrations are clean and simple, with a cool-toned palette, and lots of humor packed into them. There is the toaster that Penguin attempts to juggle (but throws into a tree). Or the albatross hovering in midair after the show, with a gleaming medal around its neck. This is a fun book to read, but it also carries the message that not everyone has to be good at the same things. Sometimes you really need a penguin to plan the party.—Susan E. Murray, formerly at Glendale Public Library, AZ
Kirkus Reviews
Everybody has some kind of talent. The big talent show is just days away, and the animals are busy practicing. Bear juggles, Rabbit pulls himself out of a hat, and Fox burps like crazy. Penguin, though, just sits at home, thinking. He doesn't know what his talent is, and he doubts that he has one. Instead of performing, he decides to help organize the event, so he can be involved. The show goes off like gangbusters, with the king of Norway delivering an inspiring opening address. Bear takes home the trophy, several medals are awarded, and a great time is had by all. But the talentless Penguin avoids the after-party, trudging home in the snow. His friends worry about him, so they work late into the night to put together an appreciation party. Truth to tell, it's not much of a celebration, with tacky decorations, misspelled signs and bland food. When Rabbit declares that this party would be so much better if Penguin had organized it, Penguin has a revelation...his talent is party planning! Latimer's offbeat illustrations--stylized pencil drawings, digitized and then finished with color and texture--are delightfully droll. And he tucks many deadpan jokes into the story (the king's pie chart indicates the proportional ingredients of a pie, for instance). Quirky, with a side of self-esteem. (Picture book. 4-7)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781561456291
  • Publisher: Peachtree Publishers, Ltd.
  • Publication date: 8/1/2012
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 967,242
  • Age range: 5 - 8 Years
  • Lexile: AD500L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 9.40 (w) x 10.50 (h) x 0.40 (d)

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 31, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Penguin's Hidden Talent

    Penguin was just as excited as his friends about the Talent Show. All of his friends have a talent and are entering the Talent Show. Penguin thought and thought and could not come up with a talent. He discussed this with his friends and they tried to teach Penguin their talent but there was no use, Penguin in his opinion was untalented.

    Penguin told his friends it was okay he would plan the Talent Show. He busied himself on the phone, making posters and many other things for the show.

    His friends were amazed at the wonderful job Penguin did arranging everything. The Talent Show was a big success and his friends won many prizes. It made him sad that he had not been able to enter the Talent Show. His friends watched him leave and they felt so sorry for Penguin. They wondered what could they do to show their thanks for all the work he did to arrange the talent show. So they gave him a party which was the worst party anyone had ever arranged.

    Surely Penguin had a talent. Do you think he was jealous of his friends talent? What do you think was Penguin's talent? What did he do for the Talent Show?

    Be sure to grab a copy of this book and find out what was Penguin's talent.

    The author points out that everyone has a talent only if they believe in themselves and are persistent in searching deep within for that hidden talent. I remember hearing my grandmother say, "An ear should not be jealous of the nose or a hand be jealous of the foot. They are all very important so when we say we are not as pretty or talented as someone else, we are very wrong because we are each important in many ways." This works both ways for you or someone else. We each have a purpose!

    The illustrations depict the story of the characters and their surroundings. Way too cute! Many things for the child to find and point out and name with the encouragement of the story teller.

    I recommend this book for children ages 4-8!

    Disclosure
    I received a free copy of this book from Peachtree Publishers for review. I was in no way compensated for this review. It is my own opinion.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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