Little Dee and the Penguin by Christopher Baldwin

Published by Dial Books for Young Readers

 

Summary: Little Dee is getting tucked in for the night when her park ranger father gets an emergency call. The next time we see her is at her father’s funeral, when she is spotted by animal friends Ted (bear), Blake (dog), and Vachel (vulture). At about the same time, they’re joined by a penguin named Paisley, who has wandered away from his family in Antarctica and is being chased by two polar bears who want him for lunch. Reluctantly, the three friends agree to both save Little Dee from the cold, cruel orphanage and take Paisley back to Antarctica. Their journey takes them to Mexico, Ecuador, and Chile, with plenty of adventures and a few more interesting characters along the way. 128 pages; grades 3-6.

Pros: Originally a webcomic, Little Dee is great fun. Although she herself doesn’t talk, her animal friends more than make up for her silence with their nonstop banter. There’s plenty of snark and sarcasm, but also a good deal of friendship and caring. The illustrations are bright and colorful and will appeal to fans of Bone and Raina Telgemeier.

Cons: Some of the funnier sarcasm may go over the heads of younger readers.

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