A penguin with the hiccups exhorts readers to help him cure his problem.
First-time author/illustrator Bentley jumps on the interactive bandwagon with the fanciful tale of an anthropomorphic penguin. Staring out at and addressing readers directly, the small penguin offers a friendly hello and makes cryptic mention of another character (“Franklin said you would be here soon”). He then launches into his tale of woe: a bowl (or several) of chili has given him a case of the hiccups that he just can’t shake. After trying a series of silly remedies suggested by his penguin friends, he asks readers to shout “Boo!” The first try doesn’t work, so a second, louder effort is solicited and seems to help. But the ultimate cure will come as a surprise to listeners—and may startle them more than a little. Hand-drawn, digitally colored illustrations offer occasional hints of the coming plot twist, but for the most part they merely reflect the text. Cartoon-style penguins, simply drawn ovals with large eyes and blobby yellow toes, are pictured against an interestingly textured blue and white world of water and ice. A somewhat static feel to the art works against the effort to engage listeners, as does a main character who is just a shade too generic.
Like the readers’ shouts, this is not quite strong enough to do the trick. (Picture book. 4-7)