'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Saturday 13 March 2021

Review: Penguin Bloom, Young Readers' Edition

All pets are therapy pets – some are just undercover” said a meme I saw recently.

This could have been written about Penguin, the orphaned magpie who came into the Bloom family’s lives just when they needed her the most.

Based on a true story, this novel portrays the Blooms as a family reeling after a devastating accident that left the young mother of three, Sam, a paraplegic.

The previously active, happy woman struggles to cope with the pain and grief of her acquired disability. 

Sam tries to remain positive, but every day becomes a battle, and she increasingly shuts herself away, becoming more despondent and hopeless.

In turn, the whole family spirals into depression.

Told from the point of view of the eldest child, Noah - who blames himself for the accident - this story tells how he happened upon the orphaned magpie chick, and brought her back to the house.

Initially seen to be yet another burden for the already overloaded family, the small bird gradually wins all of them over. They call her Penguin due to her black and white plumage. The family nurse the injured magpie to health. Her resilience, her odd quirks and general goofiness managed to lift their spirits when they were all down.

The family teaches Penguin to fly, and she teaches them to live again.

Based on the 2017 bestselling novel by Cameron Bloom, as Penguin Bloom, The Odd Bird who Saved a Family for an adult audience, it became a feature movie and, this, the young readers’ edition, tells the story from the son’s viewpoint.

It is an uplifting and inspiring tale about growth and forgiveness, and even though (like many books adapted from movies) the writing is sometimes clunky, it nevertheless brought a tear to this reviewer’s eye.

And now I want to read the adult book, too!

Title: Penguin Bloom, Young Readers’ Edition
Author: Chris Kunz
Publisher: ABC Books, $14.99
Publication Date: 21 January 2021
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9780733341670
For ages: 8 – 12
Type: Middle Grade Fiction