A Goofy Guide to Penguins
Publisher: Toon
Release Date: 2016
Price: $ 12.95
Creators: Jean-Luc Coudray and Philippe Coudray
Format: HC, 36 pages, 6 1/4" x 9 1/4", color
ISBN: 978-1935179962
Age Rating: all ages.
ICv2 Rating: 3.5 Stars out of 5

The format of most of this book is that on each page there is a two-panel cartoon story, with a question and an answer, or a statement and continuation or response. These are very cute cartoons focusing on penguins, and continue the pseudo-factual theme of the cover in an entertaining fashion.

Part fact, part fiction and very entertaining, the only real flaw in this book is its misleading reading level. The vocabulary of the graphic part of the book and the simple format keep it in the Level One range of Toon books, aimed at early readers, but much of the humor in the illustrations is more sophisticated, and aimed at an older audience. For instance, one cartoon’s payoff is based on the concept that if you’re at the South Pole, everywhere else is north. Another involves pouring a drink by letting the sun melt a bottle made of ice. These are not obvious sight gags for an early reader. In addition, the fact section in the back has a much higher reading level than the rest of the book, along with internet references not aimed at beginning readers. Also, beginning readers may not be able to distinguish some of the humor from the factual material.

Thus, and this is a rarity for a Toon book, the Level One assigned to this is somewhat misleading, and the book will be of greater interest to older children, ones who can appreciate multi-level sight gags and who can make use of the non-fiction section.

For those older readers, this book will be a both fun and educational, and something to hand to kids doing reports about penguins.

--Nick Smith: Library Technician, Community Services, for the Pasadena Public Library in California.