Mild scatological humor provides a running theme through newcomer Brown's tale of a group of flightless birds determined to get themselves airborne. The story opens with Penguin enjoying a beautiful morning. "But just when he waddled outside... Splat!!! A goose pooped on Penguin." This proves the final indignity Penguin can take from the "Flappers." He decides to organize the other "Waddlers"-Ostrich, Kiwi and Cassowary-to invent a flying machine. The following spread captures their initial misguided efforts (e.g., they pump themselves full of air, stand on an upside down fan). Finally, however, they construct a hot-air balloon, which they name Dodo, don goggles and "[say] good-bye to the ground for the first time in their lives." Brown's breathtaking full-bleed spreads document the quartet's success, with vistas of land, sea and sky that stretch past the pages' boundaries. Youngsters can almost feel the birds' joy at their journey, which allows them all their longed-for experiences (Cassowary tastes clouds, for instance, and "Penguin finally felt the thrill of target pooping"). At one point they pass the geese they've envied for so long, and these rivals play a surprise role in the denouement. The action takes place against backgrounds of solid colors in earth tones, and Brown sneaks in numerous visual jokes (Penguin eating a worm sandwich, a goose wearing a muffler) sure to appeal to youngsters. An engaging and mischievous romp that marks the start of a promising new talent. Ages 3-6. (Oct.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
K-Gr 2-Penguin is having a fine day until a flying goose lets loose on his jacket. Reminded that he is restricted to the ground and that the "Flappers" get to have all the fun, the "Waddler" summons other flightless birds-Ostrich, Kiwi, and Cassowary-and convinces them of the need to invent a flying machine. Once aloft in their hot-air balloon, "Penguin finally felt the thrill of target pooping." The straightforward text shows the various sounds and noises either in capitals-"SPLAT"-or in a wavy line to indicate the flying and floating in the sky. Colorful acrylic-and-pencil illustrations not only add humor-worms are shown squirming out of Penguin's sandwich by day, and the birds sport flight goggles-but also depict trouble-the sky turns a blackish-purple when a thunderstorm hits. In a turnabout of fate, Penguin poops on the geese to get their attention and the kindhearted Flappers facilitate the rescue of the Waddlers. Pair this book with other titles about unlikely friendships for a theme about learning from others.-Blair Christolon, Prince William Public Library System, Manassas, VA Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Brown's debut offers young readers insight into the pleasures of having a dream . . . and going for it. Spurred by the splatter of goose poop on his jacket, Penguin decides that it's time to take a higher view-and so he gathers a trio of other flightless birds, inspires them to help, and after some unfortunate failures, takes off into the sky beneath a giant rubber balloon. The flight brings everything he and his companions had hoped, from a chance to taste the clouds and to see the world from above, to an opportunity to perfect the technique of "target pooping." Smoothly modulated colors and odd looking but precisely modeled figures give the airbrushed acrylic illustrations a sophisticated sheen that makes the storyline, and a plethora of visual gags, all the funnier. Whether airily waving a worm sandwich, or frantically signaling (guess how) a group of earthbound geese far below for help when storm clouds suddenly threaten, dapper Penguin exudes a capable air that carries him triumphantly over the rough spots. Children will happily fly with him. (Picture book. 6-8)