A pompadour-touting penguin makes a bid for fame in Casanova’s zany, rollicking debut children’s book.
There’s quite a stir in a wildlife habitat on the grounds of a Las Vegas hotel when an odd-looking baby penguin hatches from his egg. Named for his highly unusual hairdo, Elvis quickly attracts attention, from the sneers of flamingos to the admiration of a female penguin named Lucy. When a convention of Elvis impersonators visits the zoo, the little penguin finds himself inspired by his namesake. Elvis’ antics occasionally get him into trouble, including painting his flippers to look like blue suede shoes and making an ill-fated attempt to bring a hound dog to the penguin enclosure. In spite of such mischief, though, there’s no dampening his enthusiasm, and he’s determined to make it big onstage in Las Vegas someday. Just when it seems that fame is out of reach, an encounter involving some showgirls and a fast-talking, street-savvy penguin named Mario offers Elvis a surprising chance—if he can outrun security guards. This quirky, upbeat, and undeniably fun children’s book is sure to make even the most reluctant Elvis fan want to join in and sing along. The author has a keen sense of humor, including zany touches such as a bad-boy gang of Bronx Zoo penguins and plot twists that reference the lyrics to Elvis Presley’s songs. Some of the pop-culture nods may be better understood by adults than by children, but the song snippets and the child-friendly backdrop of the zoo make this a perfect introduction to a bygone era of music history. The book’s only sour note is in its crayon-and-pencil illustrations, which offer well-drawn depictions of the characters but lack the polish and professionalism of the text.
A whimsical, heartfelt picture book about a little bird with a surprisingly big dream.