Review Detail

Villains on a Snowy Mountain
Overall rating 
 
4.5
Plot/Characters/Writing Style 
 
4.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable) 
 
5.0
Mr. Penguins and his friends Colin the spider and Edith are trying to keep a rock safe from dastardly types after a snafu in Cityville. They take to the air and run into trouble, crash landing on a snowy mountain but parachuting to safety with giant knickers. Luckily, they are found immediately by twins Dieter and Lisle and taken to their home in Schneedorf-on-the-Peak.Coincidentally, Dieter had written to Mr. Penguin to come and investigate why rodents in the town, including Dieter's own hamster, Mr. Tuftybum, have gone missing. In between fish finger sandwiches and cups of cocoa, Mr. Penguin helps to unravel the mystery centering around the International Rodent Games and an evil, shadowy figure who seems to be stalking the group who seems to have ties to a super villain intent on hypnotizing the world from an abandoned mountain top castle.
Good Points
Like Marciano's Klawde, Woodrow's The Curse of the Werepenguin or Taylor's Malamander, this series features a goofy but well-meaning anthropomorphized cast engaged in derring-do. There are motorcycle chases, plane crashes, and dangerous machinery, and Colin, the kung fu spider helps Mr. Penguin out when things are dire. Dieter and Lisle are helpful, too, of course, and provide our hero with the background about their town, as well as snacks and a place to stay. The story is told with the utter confidence that Mr. Penguin's antics are perfectly normal, and that penguins solve mysteries all of the time!

The real brilliance of this series is the format of the book, which is similar to Smith's other series, Claude in the City. The words are large and well spaced on the page, illustrations abound, and the orange and black color scheme provides added interest. The illustrations are as goofy as the characters they portray; Professor Stout-Girdle, Gordon the pigeon, and the evil Mesmero, whose identity is a bit of a surprise!

For readers who revel in Roald Dahl's unlikely British tales accompanied by Quentin Blake's exuberant line drawings, Mr. Penguin is a great fit. In a world where spiders write notes to communicate and pigeons are able to fly their friends around, there's no doubt that a motivated (if not very bright) penguin can save the world for certain destruction.
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