Mr Penguin and the Fortress of Secrets

Authored by Alex T. Smith
Illustrated by Alex T. Smith
Published by Hachette Children’s Group

Mr Penguin and the Fortress of Secrets is for anyone who loves a detective story, and this one is different in its humour and adventurous travels of Mr Penguin and his sidekick, Colin, the spider who is a master of kung-fu, his friend Edith Hedge and her pigeon Gordon.

This is a fast-paced adventure with a mystery to solve, filled with the fantastic illustrations of Alex T Smith throughout.  The story begins in a roaring twenties-style glittering ballroom of the Golden Pagoda Hotel where Mr Penguin and his gang are fully immersed in solving a case and recovering a rare stone by seizing a very real case! Which they do, with an escape in an aeroplane that then crash lands into a snowy mountainside village where all pets have gone missing near a mysterious fortress. And there, of course, they are led into another mystery and adventure. If I tell you anymore, I will spoil the rest of the mystery and adventure. My advice is, read it!

There are so many questions to answer at every turn. What is the significance of the rare stone? Why have all the pets gone missing? What is going on in the fortress? Who is writing the notes and unfolding story about hypnotism throughout the book?

The joys of this story are many: the humour; the plots and how they surprise you and all cleverly link up in the end; the plethora of very different characters throughout and of course the resourcefulness and ingenuity of Mr Penguin and his gang.  I like that the resolution is not obvious and that there is another dark story that unfolds gradually throughout. So there is much to talk about, think about and laugh out loud in every chapter. For teachers, this is a great read-aloud book and also one for independent readers new to chapter books.

This is the second in a series of Mr Penguin books by Alex T. Smith, the first being Mr Penguin and the Lost Treasure.  Here’s hoping there are lots more to come.

Mr Penguin features in Just Imagine’s Reading Journey read more here

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