In the middle of the night, a mysterious red truck races down Happy Town. Its cargo? Cages filled with penguins on their way to be shipped to another country. Suddenly the doors fling open and one cage rolls down the street and lands in a garden. From it, a little penguin steps out fearfully, awed at the world around him. Up until now, he has only known the constraints of the zoo.
In the morning, a boy named Alesdor discovers him and decides to keep him. Naturally, they immediately click and become the best of friends. Though the little penguin, Zeppi, is heartbroken from being separated from the rest of his family, he finds warmth and affection in Alesdor, who is as anxious for a friend as his new companion.
This children’s book by first-time Belgian author C.K. Omillin put a smile on my face throughout; not only because it’s about a penguin (and who doesn’t love penguins?), but because the story is sweet and weaves elements of friendship, family and ecological, planet-friendly values. This is the first instalment in The Adventures of Zeppi series and the beginning of their escapades. The adorable illustrations in soft pastel colors complement the story perfectly. This isn’t the standard picture book for 3-7 year olds that has short text and includes artwork on almost every page, but rather a picture book for slighter older kids (ages 6-9), who can handle longer stories. Still, there are 13 illustrations in this book, many of them spot illustrations.
I’m really looking forward to reading the next book in the series. The Adventures of Zeppi is sure to become a favourite of children, especially those who love penguins. C.K. Omillin is definitely an author to keep your eye on.