Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Review - Penguin's Christmas Wish

Penguin's Christmas Wish (Penguin)
by Salina Yoon
Date: 2016
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Reading level: C
Book type: picture book
Pages: 32
Format: e-book
Source: library

Geisel Honor-winning author/illustrator Salina Yoon's beloved character Penguin celebrates the season in Penguin's Christmas Wish--a charming picture book that's perfect for the holidays.

Penguin can't wait to celebrate Christmas with his family and friends. But when things don't go exactly as planned, Penguin learns to find holiday magic in the most unexpected places.

Countless readers have already come to love the adorable Penguin, and Salina Yoon continues this series with a timeless story of holiday magic and the importance of family and friends.

(synopsis from Goodreads)

Well, that was a waste of a few minutes. This is a picture book for oblivious kids. I was confused myself, until I realized that I was supposed to not notice something pretty glaring. Kids notice things. Don't treat them as if they're stupid.

Penguin and his friends (family?) are preparing for Christmas. Pumpkin wishes they had a real tree, so they pack up all their Christmas paraphernalia and Penguin leads them "away from their frozen home" to some forest where he's apparently on a first-name basis with one of the trees, Pinecone. The penguins decorate Pinecone, put their gifts under it, and make their Christmas wishes. Penguin's wish is to share Christmas with the whole forest. During the night, a blizzard sweeps through the forest, blowing all the ornaments off of Pinecone and scattering the presents. So Penguin has to improvise gifts. But his own Christmas wish has yet to come true. He waits all day, and then notices that the ornaments have blown onto every other tree in the forest, and all the other critters come out to join them. The wish has come true! The end.

The problem I had is that, when we first see Pinecone stripped of all the ornaments, there's another tree on the same spread that's covered in lights and baubles. So I scratched my head as I kept turning the pages. There were obviously ornaments on all the other trees. Why on earth did it take until nightfall for Penguin to notice that the blizzard had merely rearranged the ornaments? (He also didn't notice the other critters popping up until he noticed the ornaments. Either Penguin needs glasses, or he's just really slow.)

The illustrations might've saved this for me, had they been great, but they're not. The characters are drawn so simply (and without eyebrows) that there are few facial expressions to be had. Penguin has the same look on his face throughout... whether he's supposed to be upset that the blizzard has wrecked their Christmas tree or happy that his wish has finally come true.

This was a complete miss for me. By treating the reader as if they're stupid and oblivious, it makes them feel stupid and oblivious... when they're actually one step ahead of the clueless characters.

Premise: 1/5
Meter: n/a
Writing: 2/5
Illustrations: 1/5
Originality: 1/5

Enjoyment: 1/5

Overall: 1.17 out of 5

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