Son2 has been reading more independently lately, particularly Enid Blyton and the Beano, so I haven’t had so many children’s books to write about. We’ve managed to break that streak recently though (variety being the spice of life, and all that). He’s a long-time fan of the Claude series by Alex T. Smith – so much so that he went to school dressed as Claude on last year’s World Book Day – so moving on to the longer chapter book Mr Penguin and the Lost Treasure (Hodder Children’s Books, 2017) was a logical step.
The publisher’s description “Indiana Jones meets Hercule Poirot … with plenty of slapstick humour, mystery and adventure” is pretty apt, and it’s perfectly pitched to appeal to children of around 8 who find bottom jokes hysterical, while still being fun for grown-ups to read aloud. There’s a cast of entertaining characters, an underground jungle and jewel-thieves to foil before Mr Penguin can finally settle down to a well-deserved fish finger sandwich. Fans of Claude will recognise the characteristic wit and exuberant illustrations. We both enjoyed this very much and will be looking forward to Mr Penguin’s next adventure!