Clever, fun and not entirely predictable mystery


Mr. Penguin has always loved reading adventure stories. So much so that he decided to open his own business as a Professional Adventurer. He was beginning to question his decision when the phone rang. It was Miss Boudicca Bones, owner of the Museum of Extraordinary Objects, and she needed Mr. Penguin's help. Miss Bones explains that things aren't going well at the museum. But ... with Mr. Penguin's help she is sure they can find the treasure her great-great-great grandfather hid at the museum.

They have just one clue: X marks the spot! With his trusty magnifying glass - and his partner Colin (a spider) - Mr. Penguin finds the X and the adventure begins. Following the clues through an underground cave, across a gator-filled river, and over a waterfall ... is this just a wild goose chase?

Parent Perspective:
This adventure mystery has just the right balance of suspense and predictability for young audiences. The writing is vivid (as is the orange in the color scheme), making it a great choice for reading aloud.

As Mr. Penguin and the Lost Treasure is a finalist in the Early Chapter Category for the Cybils Awards, I read it with the perspective of someone still building their skills and transitioning to longer stories. While it does have some of the elements for transitional readers, the vocabulary, page density, and reading level push it to middle grade. The illustrations - particularly of the individual characters - are great and very helpful for young listeners trying to visualize the story. There were several spots, though, where the writing was so detailed - like describing map (chapter 9) - that an illustration would have been a huge help for the reader. Ideally, the end papers would have been that map, complete with the "red line."

Recommended for tweens who love adventures like Indiana Jones and quirky illustration styles.

Reader Enjoyment Factors:

Grab your hat ... the one with the arrows and join Mr. Penguin on a fun mystery adventure. Quirky characters and unexpected events will have readers asking "what's next."

Content Awareness Factors:


Type of Book:
This is the first title in an illustrated adventure series featuring a penguin detective.
Educational Themes:

Make the case your own with your own detective journal. What are you learning along the way that can help you solve the case?

Reading Level:
Recommended Age To Read By Yourself:
10 and Up
Recommended Age To Read Together:
8 and Up
Purchase Recommendation:
Borrow to see if the story is a hit. Because it is also a great read-aloud it will work with different aged audiences, so if you like this one, consider buying the series.

Title Mr. Penguin and the Lost Treasure

Mr. Penguin, Book 1

Author Alex T. Smith
Publisher Peachtree Publishers © 2019
Illustrators Alex T. Smith
ISBN 9781682631201
Material Hard Cover
Cost $16.95
Genres Animal Character, Adventure, Mystery, Humor

More Reviews

Here are some other books we have reviewed that you may like!


Jarrett J. Krosoczka
Walden Pond Press © 2014
be the star you are


Octavia Spencer
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, Imprint Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing © 2013
be the star you are


Ripley's Believe It Or Not


Chris Grabenstein