Possibly one of the funniest picture books you will ever pick up.
Ben gets a present. When he unwraps it, he finds a penguin inside. Understandably he tries to engage the penguin in conversation and to get some kind of reaction from him. But Penguin says nothing. And ‘Penguin said nothing’ is the most repeated line of the rest of the book, to the great delight of young readers, who will be in stitches at Ben’s desperate attempts to elicit even a smile from the inscrutable bird. He tries everything, but Penguin just ignores him.
The illustrations in this book are exquisite; Penguin’s blank expression is subtley hilarious and Ben is drawn with tenderness and humour. There are some great moments when the pictures form a key part of the narrative:
It is worth mentioning that at one point Ben is (albeit temporarily) eaten by a lion. Particularly sensitive children may struggle with this, so take that into account, and it would not be a good choice as a bedtime story for the imaginative. Otherwise read this with plenty of drama, especially Ben’s final outburst: “SAY SOMETHING!” (You do really feel for the poor boy!)
Visually stunning and sparely and comically written, this is the picture book at its best.