Bolt Wattle dreams of a family, but not just any family, the return of his true family. He’s been living in an orphanage for years, hoping that his long lost mother and father will return. One day he is summoned into the headmistress’ office where he is informed that he has been requested for adoption by a mysterious Baron in the country of Brugaria. Once Bolt arrives in his new home country he is confronted by a series of strange occurrences. A fortune teller warns him that he must beware the penguins, people faint and scream at the very mention of the Baron he is going to live with, and there are even threats of being hit wit stale bread. The Curse of the Werepenguin is a delight to read and is something that readers young and old who love a little bit of silly with their spooky will enjoy.
Brugaria is an eerie country with the barks of penguins filling the night and at one point calling young Bolt out of his bed. He had hoped that being with the Baron would allow him to enjoy the family life he hoped for with ice cream socials and water polo, well if families do play water polo that is. The housekeeper to the Baron continues to hint at how dangerous his home is and while the Baron insists that Bolt follow his rules, something very strange is about to happen. Left only with a stuffed penguin by his parents and having a penguin shaped birthmark it seems as though the idea of penguins has always been very crucial to Bolt’s life. When he leaves his room after midnight to the strange calls of the penguins, Bolt begins to transform in a way that is much more supernatural than anything he expected to experience. Beyond Bolt, we also meet a young bandit, Annika, who was kidnapped as a baby and raised within a community of bandits in the forest, with their leader as her father. The two young children in Brugaria will create an unexpected friendship with everything else going on.
The Curse of the Werepenguin is such a delightful read and Bolt as the lead character is the perfect person to lead readers on a journey through this strange penguin filled land. As he begins to understand what is going on, he becomes bolder and his desire to bolt, something he has always had, begins to decrease. This is a hero’s journey with a strong underdog, or maybe underpenguin is a better choice for young Bolt, as the focus. The other element of the book are the narration interludes. Someone is sharing Bolt’s story at a zoo in the present, with the listener of the story having to survive hearing these frightening words in exchange for being able to take the penguins to his own zoo. The listener keeps insisting that he is not scared, but the slow disappearance of his sleeves seems to hint that he might be a bit more terrified than he is letting on. You can pre-order this spooky and silly read today, The Curse of the Werepenguin will be out on August 13th wherever books are sold.