Beware all you foolish humans, Evil Emperor Penguin is here and he’s taking over the world! Mwa ha ha ha!

At least, he’s going to try. But when you’ve got fluffy yeti minions, a squid butler, and an adorably evil cat nemesis, what chance has an evil penguin got? This colorful collection of catastrophes relates the attempts of Evil Emperor Penguin to take over the world despite the rather inept “help” of Eugene, his fluffily abominable snowman minion and Number 8, his brainy (and knitting-obsessed) sidekick. There are plenty of villainous inventions, mustaches, and the occasional misstep as even an evil overlord realizes he needs friends. Each episode is loosely tied together and there is an initial introduction to the main cast of characters and the EEP’s lair.

Anderson’s art is brisk and funny, fitting the light and silly nature of the book. EEP is a sleek, black and white menace with an appropriately evil squint (except for those times when his eyes pop open in shock). Number 8 uses his legs with aplomb, knitting, handing out evil plans, and offering helpful advice. His monocle and calm demeanor marks him as British, despite his being a purple cephalopod. Eugene at first seems indistinguishable from the other fluffy marshmallow yetis who run the evil inventions and lair, but gradually develops a personality beyond his love of all things cute.

The humor is occasionally overly British and sometimes trite, but does include some gems like the evil machine that knits sweaters for world leaders instead of destroying them with a laser. There is a sprinkling of potty jokes and the occasional naughty language, but if made into an animated film the book would probably get a G rating. Fans of the Minions and readers of the equally humorous and cartoonishly violent Bunny Vs. Monkey will eat this up. The only drawback is that it is available only in paperback or expensive prebound, no hardcover or library binding. This amusing and silly title is sure to fly off the shelves.

Evil Emperor Penguin
by Laura Ellen Anderson
ISBN: 9781338132748
Scholastic, 2017
Publisher Age Rating: 7-10

  • Jennifer

    | She/Her Youth Services Librarian, Matheson Memorial Library

    Reviewer

    Jennifer Wharton is the Youth Services Librarian at Matheson Memorial Library in Elkhorn, Wisconsin where she maintains the juvenile and young adult graphic novel collections and was responsible for creating the library’s adult graphic novel collection. She is constantly looking for great new comics for kids and teens and new ways to incorporate graphic storytelling in programming. Jennifer blogs for preschool through middle grade at JeanLittleLibrary and has an MLS from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

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