Geronimo by David Walliams
Ill. by Tony Ross. HarperCollins, 2018. ISBN 9780008279752
(Age: 4+) Recommended. Themes: Humour, Penguins, Difference, Endeavour, Striving, Perception. When hatched, Geronimo the Emperor Penguin, just thinks about flying. That's all he wants to do and spends his waking hours attempting to fly, despite his father among others telling him that penguins do not fly. Undaunted, he slides down an ice hill, bounces from the round stomach of a sea lion, climbs onto the back of an albatross, all without success. His father really wants him to succeed despite knowing how impossible his dream is, and thinks back to when he was a boy dreaming the same dream. He cannot let his son down and calls all the other penguins together to hatch a plan.
The imaginative plan his father and the other penguins hatch is simply wonderful, giving the young penguin the feeling of flying, but in another realm entirely. It will delight younger readers as they too know the impact of trying to do something which everyone tells you is impossible.
David Walliams' off beat humour shines through from the name the penguin is given on the cover, sure to impel many readers to look up the word and muse on why Walliams has given the animal that particular name. After that he describes the attempts made by the penguin, always ending in failure when he lands in the freezing sea or the deep snow or on an iceberg, each time beautifully supported and enhanced by Ross' illustrations. Tony Ross brings his own sense of humour to the setting, as children will love seeing the things that make the Antarctic unique. Readers will quickly spot an array of animals and landscapes, made aware of the cold and isolation, as well as the size of some of the animals found there. The expressions on the faces of all will entrance younger readers as they work with Geronimo in trying to make his dream come true.