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Review: The Penguin Lessons by Tom Michell

Title: The Penguin Lessons:  What I Learned from a Remarkable BirdThe Penguin Lessons

Author: Tom Michell

Publisher: Penguin UK, Michael Joseph

Size: 240 pages

Release Date: November 5th, 2015

Rating: 4/5

Synopsis (via Publisher):

‘I was hoping against hope that the penguin would survive because as of that instant he had a name, and with his name came the beginning of a bond which would last a life-time’

Tom Michell is in his roaring twenties: single, free-spirited and seeking adventure. He has a plane ticket to South America, a teaching position in a prestigious Argentine boarding school, and endless summer holidays. He even has a motorbike, Che Guevara style. What he doesn’t need is a pet. What he really doesn’t need is a pet penguin. Set against Argentina’s turbulent years following the collapse of the corrupt Perónist regime, this is the heart-warming story of Juan Salvador the penguin, rescued by Tom from an oil slick in Uruguay just days before a new term. When the bird refuses to leave Tom’s side, the young teacher has no choice but to smuggle it across the border, through customs, and back to school.

Whether it’s as the rugby team’s mascot, the housekeeper’s confidant, the host at Tom’s parties or the most flamboyant swimming coach in world history, Juan Salvador transforms the lives of all he meets – in particular one homesick school boy. And as for Tom, he discovers in Juan Salvador a compadre like no other… The Penguin Lessons is a unique and moving true story which has captured imaginations around the globe – for all those who dreamed as a child they might one day talk to the animals.

My Review:

I’ll admit the penguin on the cover was what first attracted my attention to this book but, having read the synopsis, I was intrigued to read more – and I’m so glad I did! It is a heart warming tale of how Juan Salvador Pingüino came to be rescued from an oil slick then travelled from Uruguay to a boarding school in Argentina where he’s adopted by the staff and students alike.

The narrator for the story is the author, Tom Michell, and this is part recount, part story, part travelogue and entirely entrancing. It is a brilliant, fun read, as the author shares his experiences and imagined conversations with Juan Salvado( r ). I’ll let you imagine some of the amazing, often hilarious, antics as a little penguin joins a boarding school then suggest that you go read the book yourself to find out just what happens.

This is a fun, light hearted read – brilliant to chuckle along to!

Thanks to the author, publisher and NetGalley, too, for letting me read an ARC of this book in exchange for this, an honest review.

This book is available from a variety of sources including

amazon.co.uk           amazon.com          barnes and noble

3 comments on “Review: The Penguin Lessons by Tom Michell

  1. Terry Tyler
    December 27, 2015

    This book sounds lovely – the cover attracted me. Sounds wonderful, just written it on the to-read list 🙂


    • bicted
      December 27, 2015

      I don’t think you’ll regret it – really entertaining read, especially when you consider it is supposed to be based on true experiences!


  2. Winnie Pownall
    January 1, 2016

    Your style is so unique in comparison to other folks I’ve read stuff
    from. Many thanks for posting when you have
    the opportunity, I’ll just book mark this site!


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