A polar bear is coming to visit the South Pole; everyone has different ideas of what she will be like.
With an authorial assist from Driscoll, Bentley’s Little Penguin (Little Penguin Stays Awake, 2018, etc.) is making a foray into the early-reader format. Always eager and brightly addressing readers directly--“Oh! Hi! Sorry! / I did not see you there”--Little Penguin instantly commands camaraderie. The friends of the South Pole are a bit nervous. A polar bear is coming to visit. Rumors swirl that polar bears are ferocious hunters. And tell bad jokes. “Very bad jokes.” But Little Penguin isn’t worried. Little Penguin follows this advice: “Don’t believe everything you hear!” (In fact, it’s so important, it’s painted on a billboard that occupies its own ice floe.) When the polar bear arrives, she seems innocuous (and conspicuously long-lashed). But her first question causes Little Penguin to squirm: “What time should I go to the dentist?” But then she answers it herself: “Tooth hurty!” Oh no! It’s a terrible joke! Are they all doomed (to groan at jokes and become dinner)?! Driscoll certainly tests comprehension skills; readers must follow both the story and the punchlines. The abrupt ending begs for a comic rimshot as the polar bear recognizes a misconception of her own.
A humorous look at the powerful effect of preconceived notions. (Early reader. 4-8)