Word Spelunking

Diary of a Penguin-napper - Sally Harris 3.5/5 StarsTHREE WORDS: Super Cute & FunMY REVIEW: With a title like Diary of a Penguin-napper, I just knew I was in for a wild and wacky ride when I began Sally Harris' middle-grade novel. And I was very right. This quick read is chock full of both the wild and the wacky!Diary of a Penguin-napper follows the adventures of one eleven year old Marty, as he and his best friend Turds set out to kidnap a penguin from the zoo. Marty is paired up with his crush and the most beautiful girl in Year 7, Jessica, for an overnight science trip, but there's one little problem- Marty's mom can't afford the trip. Thus, the two young boys resort to penguin-napping and selling, and hilarity and mayhem ensue.At a little over 150 pages, Diary of a Penguin-napper is a super quick, but super cute and fun read. Sally Harris has concocted an imaginative and exciting tale that will have readers laughing out loud and ready to put their own clever schemes into motion.Because of the book's shorter length, delightful adventure, and funny dialogue I easily devoured it in one sitting, not wanting to put it down until I knew how Marty's story ended. Harris begins the story at the end and works backwards, as Marty tells his tale to his mother and the two cops who have shown up for the missing penguin. I like this “starting at the end” structure because it really makes you feel like you too, are being told a story. I felt like I was sitting in that living room with Marty, his mom, and the cops, munching on cookies and being delighted and amused by the unbelievable and engrossing story.And what a zany, funny story it is! I love how outrageous and outlandish the idea of kidnapping a penguin from a zoo sounds, yet at the same time, like Marty and Turds, I too, totally believed it made perfect sense and could be pulled off. It's the kind of scheme that you know can't end well, but you must see how it plays out. And this penguin-napping scheme definitely kept me entertained and full of giggles. Harris writes with an age-appropriate voice that is both cheeky and adorable.Harris' characters are a quirky, charming bunch. Marty narrates his own tale, so we get to know him the best, and he's an endearing guy. I love that Marty did everything in the name of love! Turds is the kind of BFF one need for a penguin-napping scheme, he's loyal, handy, and not afraid to get in trouble. And, of course, we have the lovely and surprisingly sweet Jessica.The book ends on a satisfying and happy note that had me “Awww'ing”.MY FINAL THOUGHTS: Diary of a Penguin-napper is an amusing, cute, and fun read that will entertain readers of all ages, but I think younger MG readers will get the most enjoyment out of it. An entertaining book for fans of wacky and funny adventures (and penguins!) and the trouble-makers in all of us.

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