If you have read any of Philipe Coudray's Benjamin Bear books, then you know that his is as master of absurdist humor and visual gags. And his newest book, A Goofy Guide to Penguins, created with his twin brother, Jean Luc, a cryptid enthusiast who enjoys visiting the forests of North America in his search for Big Foot, is equally silly, but with back matter that contains, "100% GENUINE, REAL FACTS ABOUT PENGUINS!"
A Goofy Guide to Penguins is also yet another fantastic TOON BOOK, which means that that this is both a graphic novel and a leveled reader! For my reviews of all the amazing TOON BOOKS that have been published since they started in 2008 HERE. Each page of A Goofy Guide to Penguins has a two panel spread. The first panel posits a question (asked by penguin a penguin chick perched outside of the panel) - or an assumption - about penguins and the second panel answers it.
One of my favorite pages shows penguin parents with their eggs - one has two eggs and the other has one. The first penguin chick tells readers that some parents "brag when they have twins." The second panel tells us that others "just wait until the eggs hatch," and shows the two parents with new chick. The penguin who waited to brag now has two chicks emerging from one egg. Knowing that the author and illustrator are twin brothers, this really tickles me. And, while the back matter did not tell me if two chicks can actually hatch from one egg, I did learn that the temperature inside a 10 penguin huddle can reach 74 degrees and that a male Emperor penguin loses up to 40% of his body weight during the incubation period for an egg.
The mix of humor and facts in A Goofy Guide to Penguins is definitely a new kind of non-fiction book for me. But, especially considering the intended audience of this book, I think it works magnificently! I hope that the Coudray brothers team up for another non-fiction book in the future, especially one that highlights Jean Luc's love of cryptozoology!
Read reviews of all three Benjamin Bear book HERE
Source: Review Copy