An unwanted orphan awakens to his destined werepenguin powers and faces an evil immortal threatening war and domination under penguin rule.
Twelve-year-old boy Humboldt thinks his only talent is bolting under beds until he’s adopted by Baron Chordata of Volgelplatz, Brugaria. In Volgelplatz, where the full moon shines every night, penguins terrorize the villagers for fish sticks under the baron’s tyrannical leadership. Like the baron, Bolt has the ability to understand penguin thoughts and transform under the light of the moon, but all he wants is a family. His dream may never come true if he fails to defeat the baron as foretold in prophecy. Woodrow presents Bolt’s adventure as a story within a story, narrated by the penguin caretaker at the St. Aves Zoo. Illustrations accompany the text, highlighting moments of drama and action. While Bolt’s story forms the central thread of the tale, the narrator shifts the focus among characters, including Annika, a 12-year-old bandit. All the strands of the story tie neatly together in the resolution. Apart from two minor characters (a bandit and a witchy fortuneteller) the cast of characters is white. Although there’s nothing unique about the chosen-one plot, this series opener’s overall outrageous sense of humor has a high appeal.
As irreverent, sarcastic, and strange as murderous, barking penguins. (Fantasy. 8-12)