The Penguin Lessons – Tom Michell

A book bought on a whim simply because of the cute picture on the front.  And worth every penny!  I loved this book.

I should probably say that it is aimed at young adults so don’t expect anything too deep and meaty but it is a heart-warming, true story about a teacher who rescues a penguin from an oil-slicked beach.  Once he’s rescued the bird and cleaned it up he tries to return it the ocean but it just turns around and follows him back.

Eventually, Tom decides to try to smuggle the penguin across the border from Uruguay to the school in Buenos Aires where he is teaching.  When he gets back to the school everyone, pupils and staff alike, welcome the bird into the community.  Juan Salvador, as the penguin is named, becomes confidante, companion and confidence builder for the boys.  It is a story of how humans interact with other animals and how they respond to us.

This was the perfect book to read at the start of a new job; engaging, interesting, enough new things to learn but not too challenging.  I enjoyed it hugely, although I might have found it a bit lightweight had I read it with my brain not bent out of shape through learning my new job.

The bits of the book I didn’t enjoy relate to the beginning – I’m scared of dead birds so a description of Michell finding a beach full of them was, frankly, terrifying! – and another bit that I can’t reveal without spoiling the book for people who haven’t read it.

I would definitely recommend this book for anyone who is interested in animals, Gerald Durrell-type books and similar or anyone who wants a cosy book to curl up with.

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