Nellie Choc-Ice, Penguin Explorer (Little Gems) by Jeremy Strong and Jamie Smith

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Nellie Choc-Ice, Penguin Explorer (Little Gems) by Jeremy Strong and Jamie Smith

Category: Dyslexia Friendly
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: John Lloyd
Reviewed by John Lloyd
Summary: A quirky and quippy little read for all the quirky little readers.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 96 Date: August 2017
Publisher: Barrington Stoke
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 9781781127216

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Meet Nellie Choc-Ice. Thus named by her grandparents (and grandparents have a habit in this book of making unusual names for their grandchildren, whichever species they belong to), she is a pretty little Macaroni penguin, complete with pink feet, bright yellow eyebrows and a woolly hat with the world's biggest pompom on the end. She has a habit of going exploring and finding out what's over the next ridge in the ice, and the next, and the next. But when disaster happens and the ice she is on is knocked off Antarctica by a submarine, even she can have no idea as to where she will end up…

This is actually a charming read, although at first I wasn't quite on the right wavelength. To start with I found the 'meta' style – the book making jokes about its own construction, and comparing it to volumes about boring stay-at-home penguins etc – a little too much. It almost – almost, I stress – seemed to be a cover for not much happening. But then things did happen, and they were very entertaining, all the while being quite flippant – an argument between a penguin who can't fly and a seagull who can't swim underwater as to who is weirder, for example. I have to take as gospel that the young readers of this author gel with this brand of wittiness – and his countless book sales prove they do.

This isn't specifically for that general audience, however, as it comes from Barrington Stoke, one of the more esteemed publishers for junior markets. They have thicker, longer-life paper of a certain tint to give them extra clarity for people with reading disabilities, and while their Little Gems varietal, of which this is an instance, is not specifically for dyslexic juniors, it will appeal to them, and those who buy books for them will find this greatly appreciated. It is in fact a short tale that will give any reader under the age of seven a great time. By the end I was much more in tune with the ideas on these pages – well, that facial expression in the artwork certainly helped – only to come up short with the realisation there was a sequel being suggested, and I would have to wait for it. It's actually one of those cloying, blunt-as-you-please mentions of further books, which is annoying, for while I was in the mood for more I don't want the wait and I don't want the dead plain advert. Still, the pleasure this read could give the right young reader will not be dissipated by that, and it is a rare and enjoyable pleasure indeed.

I must thank the publishers for my review copy.

If you want more from this author/publisher combination, there is The Ghost in the Bath, whereas if you just want a different Little Gem The Ghost in Annie's Room (Little Gems) by Philippa Pearce and Cate James is a great suggestion. Further books without ghosts are available.

Buy Nellie Choc-Ice, Penguin Explorer (Little Gems) by Jeremy Strong and Jamie Smith at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Nellie Choc-Ice, Penguin Explorer (Little Gems) by Jeremy Strong and Jamie Smith at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy Nellie Choc-Ice, Penguin Explorer (Little Gems) by Jeremy Strong and Jamie Smith at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Nellie Choc-Ice, Penguin Explorer (Little Gems) by Jeremy Strong and Jamie Smith at Amazon.com.


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