The transition to middle grade books can be a harsh one for many young readers. One day they’re happily going through their 100 page chapter book and then the inevitable happens—they’re assigned to read an award winning middle grade novel with 300 plus pages. Some survive, but others get more and more turned off as to what lies ahead.

The solution is simple. mrpenguin.jpgFind transition type MG books with exciting plots that are easy to read. MR. PENGUIN AND THE LOST TREASURE is just what the teacher (or parent) ordered. At just over 200 pages, this fun adventure features Mr. Penguin and a spider named Colin.

Mr. Penguin longs for an adventure and he gets exactly what he wants when Boudica Bones calls, owner of the Museum of Extraordinary Objects. There’s a treasure hidden in the museum and she needs help finding it. Off they go for one surprise after another as they journey deep below the museum floors.

Illustrations and a not always white background for the text, add to the mystery and fun. Yes, it’s a silly romp but it had me smiling and the targeted audience will smile even more. This is the first in a series of adventures with Mr. Penguin.




  1. The descriptions will have your head full of visuals from the situations the adventurers get into.
  2. What an appealing layout! The book begs to be picked up and thumbed through.
  3. Will appeal to both girl and boy emerging readers.
  4. The whimsical pictures will make you wish you had a set to decorate a child’s bedroom.
  5. There are more complex sentences than you’ll find in a straight chapter book. These will challenge and provide the proper step so that in years to come a child is ready to delve into longer and more intricate plots.


After considering several career options (space traveler, cake maker, professional rabbit) and working as a production assistant for an outdoor theatre events company, Alex decided to train to do the job he’d wanted to do since he was five – an illustrator specialising in the world of children’s publishing.

Alex graduated with a 1st Class Hons degree in Illustration in 2006 and having won second place in the Macmillan Prize for Children’s Picture Book Illustration in his final year, Alex begin working on his first commission as he put his degree show up!
Since then Alex has gone on to work for a wide variety of clients not just in the publishing industry, as well as writing and illustrating his own picture books, many of which have won prizes and have been read on TV during the Bedtime Hour on the CBeebies channel.

Alex is also the creator of the CLAUDE fiction series for early readers. The first title,CLAUDE in the City was selected for the Richard and Judy Children’s Book Club 2011 and was shortlisted for the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize in 2012. The first three books in the series are now published in fourteen languages across the world and a further three books will be hitting the shelves from October 2012.

When not working Alex enjoys doodling in his sketchbook, reading, people watching and eavesdropping. He is also a big fan of cake and a nice cup of tea. He lives with and under the constant ‘supervision’ of his canine companions – two very tiny, very naughty chihuahuas (Coco and Mr. Bongo) and an ancient and very bossy Yorkshire Terrier – Lucy Locket.

(For more about Alex’s books and illustrations, visit his website)


I received an ARC in exchange for  my honest review.

Make a comment if you have time. I enjoy reading all of them. Click on the comments link below.

About Greg Pattridge

Climbing another mountain...always striving to reach the next peak in my life and career.
This entry was posted in Middle Grade Book Reviews and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Those transitional books really are important. This sounds like a fun one. Thanks for the post.

  2. Janet Smart says:

    This sounds like a fun book that I’m sure kids will like. I am a kid at heart, and I also like these type of books :o)

  3. This really sounds like an excellent mystery and a perfect transitional book. And it has humor that kids love at this age. Great choice to share today! But the penguin looks more like a goose,

  4. I’m thinking this one would sit well beside my spotlight today, since I suspect they’re a similar length and reading level. Only you did a better job of highlighting that strength…from the back of your houseboat. 😀

    This looks like the perfect read for my nephew who’s in this stage, so many thanks for the recommendation!

  5. Sounds like a fun book!

  6. You’re right that there needs to be some transition books. This sounds like a fun one.

  7. I love this cover art! The story sounds clever and valuable to those readers in transition from one level to another. Thanks for sharing this for MMGM.

  8. Sue Heavenrich says:

    This sounds intriguing! And the jacket art is enticing… so yeah, adding it to my list.

  9. Pingback: Mr. Penguin and the Fortress of Secrets | Always in the Middle…

  10. Pingback: Mr. Penguin and the Catastrophic Cruise | Always in the Middle…

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