The Penguin Lessons
Mr B's review
A heart-warming and hilarious tale of the unlikely friendship between a young man and a penguin in 1970s Argentina. The penguin, Juan Salvador, is the quirkiest, most lovable character, whose antics at the boarding school where he lives after being rescued from an oil slick will make you both laugh and cry. This part-memoir, part-travelogue, part-environmental call to action vividly brings to life the political and economic experience of living in post-Perón Argentina, and the author’s wanderlust-inspiring journeys, across the pampas with Argentine cowboys, and a hair-raising trip by motorbike through the wilderness of Punta Tombo.
The unique, moving and heartwarming true story of an unlikely friendship which captured imaginations around the world . . .
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.
What he doesn’t need is a pet. What he really doesn’t need is a pet penguin.
But when he spots a penguin struggling in an oil slick whilst in Uruguay he has to help. And then the penguin refuses to leave his side.
Clearly Tom has no choice but to smuggle it across the border, through customs, and back to school. He names him Juan Salvador.
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 – including Tom, who discovers a compadre like no other . . .
AS HEARD ON BBC RADIO 2
‘A much-beloved tale about a much-beloved bird . . . heartwarmingly eccentric’ Guardian
‘So touching that I didn’t want it to end. I really loved this book’ Michael Bond, creator of Paddington
‘Charming’ Daily Mail
‘One of the most touching tales we’ve read all year’ Heat
A crazy, witty, enchanting story * Woman & Home * Tom Michell seems like the sort of fellow you’d like to have dinner with sometime. He would no doubt regale you with fascinating tales of life in Argentina during the 1970s: living with high inflation and the collapse of the Peronist government, hiking in the high Andes, wandering the snowy, pine-covered wilderness of Tierra del Fuego. Oh, and he might tell you a little bit about a Magellanic penguin he used to know * Washington Post * Packed full of funny, heart-warming anecdotes and peppered with interesting details of the political and economic picture of Argentina, this would make a perfect Christmas stocking filler * Irish Examiner * One of the most touching tales we’ve read all year * Heat ***** * Lively and endearing … In clever, entertaining vignettes accompanied by simple yet engaging illustrations, Michell … interweaves introspection, travel tales, and penguin facts in a charming story that also reveals the charismatic nature of this gregarious and increasingly endangered species * Publishers Weekly * While Michell devotes much of his time to heartwarming penguin antics, he also recalls the less idyllic elements of his time in Argentina, including runaway inflation and a military coup. Michell’s crisp, intelligent voice is equally at home chatting about motorcycling through the Argentine countryside and hiding a penguin for the duration of a bus trip. His classic dry British wit provides the perfect counterbalance to the inherent sweetness of the penguin’s remarkable devotion. Animal lovers and travel fans alike will find Michell’s adventures bright and charming * Shelf Awareness * Warm and unique … it’s hard not to wish you were there … a lovely story about a remarkable trip to the other side of the world and a gorgeous friendship between one man and his penguin * The Bookseller * An uplifting true story about author Tom Michell’s years as a teacher in Argentina and the penguin he adopted as a pet * Good Housekeeping * His tone suits the material perfectly … you believe every word … No fool, this penguin. No fools these publishers, who have unleashed such a delightful and charming book just in time for Christmas * Daily Mail * Fantastic, fantastic – I have been glued to The Penguin Lessons … it’s so good. A magical story — Dj Nihal * BBC Radio 2 Fact Not Fiction Bookclub * Entrancing … the writing is a delight, the story itself so touching that I didn’t want it to end. I really loved this book — Michael Bond, creator of Paddington Bear A much-beloved tale about a much-beloved bird … heartwarmingly eccentric…. It’s bound to be a hit * Guardian *
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