Mr Penguin and the Catastrophic Cruise

Authored by Alex T. Smith
Illustrated by Alex T. Smith
Published by Hodder

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Fish finger sandwiches at the ready. Time for another adventure!

The third Mr Penguin book sees the gang of misfit adventurers on the maiden voyage of the Saucy Sandra. They need a holiday after their last two books! Although this trip is anything but relaxing. Mixing with millionaires and movie stars, a mystery unravels. Finding scraps of paper with a curious message, they help a young stow-away find her kidnapped grandfather. But why would anyone want to kidnap him? The answer holds more danger than Mr Penguin et al. have ever faced before!

Although it’s the third instalment, you don’t have to read them in order; there’s a nice character recap at the front of the book. Each book is its own adventure while still retaining the humour and genuinely well-written plots. These keep you guessing all the way through. 

One of the key features of these books is the vast range of vocabulary. There are so many interesting words to pick out. And it’s not that they’re obscure or complicated; they add colour to the writing and give it some vitality and pizazz—something we all want to see in pupils” writing.

One of the most interesting parts of the text is the secondary narrative told in the second person. The dark pages and seabed illustrations is an atmospheric change contrasting with the rest of the story. It starts on the very first page after you open the book, before the title page and copyright details. This touch makes it seem that whoever’s voice this is – all does become clear later on – it somehow lives beyond the confines of the story. Very clever, a bit creepy, and a great talking point!

It’s a great bridge-book for the 6-8 age group, for a class read or newly independent readers. But the real joy is that this is a book to share, where both child and adult will laugh out loud!

Other titles in this series Mr Penguin and the Lost TreasureMr Penguin and the Fortress of Secrets