Tuesday 11 September 2018

Book Review: P.I. Penguin Series (Children's Books)

P.I. Penguin Series Book 1 - 4 
                                       Author: Bec J Smith
                                       Illustrator:  Adit Galih

Each book opens with a Glossary of words that children may find tricky to comprehend.

P.I. is a gorgeous little penguin but he is also a private investigator. If you have a problem to solve PI is the one to call. He looks the part in his shirt, tie, black jacket and fedora hat.

P.I. Penguin and the Case of the Missing Bottle 
P.I. Penguin #1

P.I. wakes wondering if this is the day he will find his missing parents. He looks at the missing penguin photos on his evidence board.

Bella the dolphin asks him to help find the culprit that stole a bottle from her collection. They look for clues, searching different areas of the ocean bed, and ask different suspects their alibis. They come across an octopus juggling bottles and one was Bella’s. The octopus gives the bottle back as she didn’t know that Bella owned it. Bella says she can borrow her bottles anytime.

The story is told in rhyme with beautiful ocean illustrations depicted throughout.

P.I. Penguin and the Case of the Lost Little Penguin
P.I. Penguin #2

P.I. awakes and looks at his missing penguin evidence board – a few more notes have been added since book 1 but he still can’t puzzle this out.

His Aunt Beth calls, she needs his help. Her baby, Kyle, is missing. P.I. goes straight to Perth Zoo and assures his aunt he will find Kyle. P.I. asks the other animals in the zoo for help. He asks the meerkats because they are inquisitive; the giraffe because she can see above all; the ghost bats because they have night vision. The ghost bat spies the baby penguin and P.I. takes him back to his mum. As a thank you she gives him a photo of his family. P.I. pins the photo to his board, the search for his family continues. 

P.I. Penguin and the Case of the Bell Tower Bandit.
P.I. Penguin #3

P.I. gets a call from Detective Pete, a pigeon. There is a thief at the Bell Tower. P.I. goes straight to the Bell Tower by ferry. The guardsman are two black swans (I thought this was cute because the Perth Bell Tower is home of the Swan Bells). P.I. gathers evidence and interviews his suspects who all have an alibi. But the culprit is the unlikeliest one you would suspect. Another case solved.

P.I. Penguin and the Case of the Tree Top Tagger.
P.I. Penguin #4

P.I. is atop the Obelisk Tower (which I believe is a Perth monument) wondering if he could see his family from so high. He hears that a tagger has scratched his initials in a boab tree. P.I. is aghast, this is against the law. He must find out who this tagger is. The kookaburras tell him to go down to the lake and ask every bird and beast. When he finds out who carved the initials they say they will never again deface a tree. The story ends with P.I. back home and the kookaburras promising to keep an eye out for his family.
Beautifully illustrated with gorgeous Australian fauna and flora.

The books are written to help and encourage children with dyslexia to embrace reading. However are fun reads for all ages and abilities.

The stories are short at around 32 pages and easy to read in rhyming prose. It is good to read them in order because they do have the continuing plot of P.I.’s missing family.

P.I. Penguin and the Case of the Christmas Lights.
A stand alone story.

On the first page is a list of items to find scattered throughout the illustrations.

In this story P.I. is solving a mystery of his own. Why don’t his Christmas lights look right? P.I. visits different Australian animals and birds, asking them what makes their lights so special. After each animal tells him what makes their lights special to them P.I. goes back to his house with Santa to find all his friends have decorated his house. Friendship is what makes a special display!

The books are written to help and encourage children with dyslexia to embrace reading. However are fun reads for all ages and abilities.

I read these stories to Dot, who is 4 years old. She liked P.I, he was cute, and the illustrations kept her attention. However the prose didn’t capture her. I think the rhyming with unusual words made it hard for her to understand the story.


Bec. J Smith is the Western Australian writing team of Sci-fi/Fantasy novelist Rebecca Laffar-Smith and her children, Kaylie and Joshua.

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  1. Lovely review.. these kinds of book's had helped to overcome reading slumps ☺

  2. Great review! Thanks for the book ideas. Going to get these for my son.

  3. I think these books sound wonderful. I really like that they have a glossary to help the children grasp new words and their meanings. I would buy these for my grandsons.

    1. Check out the Aulexic website. I think the first book is free as an ebook.

  4. What a delightful children's series. I can see this going over well with my children.

    1. They are very cute and short reads too. My granddaughter gets distracted easily.

  5. This sounds like a fun series for my great-niece!

  6. My kids are teens but would have lived these!

  7. saved to Young Readers Pinterest board

  8. How cute are those books. Not heard of them before. They do sound so good though.