FICTION

The Curse of the Werepenguin

Viking. (Werepenguin: Bk. 1). Aug. 2019. 352p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780451480446.
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Gr 3-6–Bolt Wattle has lived at a miserable orphanage for as long as he can remember, but he dreams that his parents will someday return for him. When he is abruptly adopted by Baron Chordata and sent to far-away Brugaria, he wonders if his family is claiming him at last. In Brugaria, all is not well: Bolt arrives at a dusty, crumbling castle after an alarming encounter with some villagers, and bands of rogue penguins roam the landscape. Worse, far from the father figure Bolt has dreamed of, Baron Chordata appears to be a boy no older than Bolt himself. At the stroke of midnight the Baron bites Bolt in the neck, and Bolt discovers the Baron’s terrible secret: he is a werepenguin, and now, so is Bolt. Bolt has three days to reverse the transformation and stop the Baron from leading the penguins into battle against the villagers, or he will be cursed to remain a werepenguin forever. This slapstick story is light on horror, character development, and logic, but heavy on gross-out humor and fish stick jokes. Bolt is occasionally assisted by Annika, the world’s fiercest bandit whom nobody has ever heard of, but neither she nor any other character experiences significant growth. Readers who enjoy the trappings of horror without any genuine chills or thrills are the best audience for this story.
VERDICT An additional purchase where goofy humor circulates well

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