A Penguin Rolling Down a Hill
by Kevin Tranter

"Tables were sent flying, tops of heads were hit by chairs, eyes were blackened, and noses were bloodied. The proprietor of the establishment tried, in vain, to restore order. Amidst all the bedlam he appealed to their better nature. Unfortunately, none of his patrons had one."

A Penguin Rolling Down a Hill is every bit as playful as the title implies. Full of jokes, silliness, and a strange and wonderful cast of characters, this adventure will delight young adult readers. A serious danger has overcome the world of dreams and its inhabitants, which spells trouble for humans around the world, or at least the ones that sleep. The nefarious Vile has banished dream ambassador Mr. Good from his rightful place in the Palase of Somnium, where Vile and his henchmen plan to unleash a collective nightmare of epic proportions on all unsuspecting dreamers. Luckily, Mr. Good has a plan. Two teenagers, one boy scout, and an ailing grandfather are summoned to the world of dreams. Working together, this unlikely group of heroes must travel through the labyrinths of Limbo and defeat Vile before he has a chance to unleash his terrible nightmare on the world.

The unabashedly silly adventure is written with all the whimsy of a children's book but with tone and craft perfect for a young adult audience. Quirky characters color the pages, including two perpetually bickering giants, a friendly dragon named Derek, ghosts who are really dream actors whose names are definitely not Norman, and an incompetent henchman addicted to riddles—to name just a few. If The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy had been set in the dream world instead of outer space, the result would be this book. The journey does have its serious moments of peril and growth, but even amidst grave dangers the delightful writing style doesn't falter. Although geared toward a younger audience, this will elicit a chuckle from readers of any age—provided that they're sufficiently in touch with their inner child.

RECOMMENDED by the US Review

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