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Thursday, August 18
Little Dee and the Penguin
My rating: ★★★★
Publisher: Dial Books
Date of publication: April 5, 2016
Age: Grades 3 - 6
Genre: Graphic Novel
Format: library book
Themes: family relationships, adventure, world travel, animals
"When Little Dee meets a motley crew of animals deep in the forest, she knows she’s found the perfect set of new friends. Between the bossy vulture, the slightly dim dog, the nurturing bear, and the happy-go-lucky penguin, this mismatched group of big personalities doesn’t always get along—but they’re a family.
And they’re on the run. A pair of hungry polar bears are after the penguin, and the rest of the team are determined to protect her. They’re not interested in adopting a tiny human. But Dee loves them—especially Ted the bear—and she won't let them go. Instead, she hops on their getaway plane and joins them on an around-the-world adventure."
If the cover doesn't tell you enough about the cute factor, I will reiterate: this is a cute story. But I don't want to sound too shallow, because it's got some very serious and thoughtful elements, as well. Honestly, I liked it more than I thought I would. Let me explain...
Initially, I wasn't the biggest fan of the illustrative style; I felt it was too simplistic and awkward. Turns out, that fits the storyline quite perfectly. Then there are the characters that I wasn't too sure about—the vulture deserves to be punched in the face, he is such a jerk. But then even he has a moment to show some depth and heart. Soon, I realized I wanted to give Ted as big of a cuddly hug as Dee was often giving him. It's got the humor and the heart and thus, it worked its magic on me.
The story isn't perfect. For instance, every time this motley crew crash lands somewhere new, there is immediately another animal there to do whatever it takes to help them. It felt too easy. How is it that only the polar bears are the bad guys? But then again, I realized that the story isn't really about running from polar bears as it is about family. And that really made the story noteworthy.
Anyway, despite some awkwardness and silliness, I recommend this book. Lots of kids will enjoy it and parents, teachers will be fans. Good readalikes include Little Robot and My Pet Human.
Find it at your library or on Amazon