Award-Winning AWB (Award-Winning-Books) 2015 Books GB Challenges It's Monday What Are You Reading Mystereadventure Picture Books Reading Themes

[Monday Reading] Meet an International Cat of Mystery, a Penguin in Peril, and Robber Cats in Helen Hancocks’ Picturebooks


It's Monday! What Are You Reading

Myra here.

It’s Monday, What are You Reading is a meme hosted by Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers (new host of Monday reading: Kathryn T at Book Date). Since two of our friends, Linda from Teacher Dance and Tara from A Teaching Life have been joining this meme for quite awhile now, we thought of joining this warm and inviting community.

Last Week’s Review and Miscellany Posts

We’re also inviting everyone to join our Award Winning Books Reading Challenge for 2015 (#AWBRead2015)! You still have a few weeks left before the year ends to win a book prize.


Here is the sign up page and the November-December linky if you already have reviews up. One randomly-selected participant would receive a copy of The World of Norm: May Contain Nuts by Jonathan Meres courtesy of Pansing Books.


Click here to view my announcement post to learn more details.


These two picturebooks found me while I was browsing the library bookshelves in search of books to feature for our current reading theme. One of the reasons why we have reading themes is so that we can be introduced to fabulous authors and books that we would not otherwise have picked out on our own.

IMG_6610Penguin in Peril

Written and Illustrated byHelen Hancocks
Published byTemplar Books, 2014
Borrowed from the Jurong West Public Library. Book photos taken by me.

There are three red hungry cats who happened to run out of food. They managed to find three gold coins. Instead of heading to the grocery store to find food, these three cats were distracted by the sight of The Fishy Feast playing at the cinema and decided to watch a movie instead.


Naturally, they were even more famished by the time they left the theater. And so they came up with a brilliant scheme to have their own “fishy feast” – but this involves stealing a penguin – and they know exactly where to get one!


What I enjoyed about this picturebook is how there are tiny details embedded in the artwork (see those sinister-looking costumes, and how can one not fall in love with that mask). There is that subtle interplay between imagery and text coupled with the very European vibe to it that simply resonated with me. While they did manage to steal the penguin from the zoo, this is no helpless bird.


The penguin not only managed to break free, it was also able to successfully conceal itself amongst similar looking creatures!


Whether the penguin remained in peril and whether the three cats (who learned penguinese to communicate with this bird) managed to have their fishy feast, I leave for you to discover. This is an impeccably designed picturebook that apparently was shortlisted for quite a number of awards. All well-deserved.

William & The Missing MasterpieceIMG_6620

Written and Illustrated by: Helen Hancocks
Published by: Templar Books, 2014
Borrowed from the Jurong West Public Library. Book photos taken by me.

While I enjoyed Penguin in Peril, I thought that Helen Hancocks has outdone herself in William and the Missing Masterpiece. From the missing Mona Cheesa that was meant to be put on exhibit for the National Cheese Week:


to this very astute depiction of an International Cat of Mystery (perfect for book-lovers on the internet) intent on solving the puzzle (see his investigative powers at play below), the pacing and the build-up were all thoughtfully considered:



This is one picturebook that made me really sit up and examine the details of the art, Helen Hancocks is simply brilliant – particularly the sneak and chase theme through the park and over the bridge. The art manages to be suffused with sufficient details without feeling too overcrowded, the overall layout and design leave spaces for the eye to rest, while at the same time the reader gets a sense of how the art is refreshingly unique and distinctive. I also thoroughly enjoyed the word play: even the names of William’s friends: Fifi Le Brie and Henri Roquefort are cheese-themed (and see the newspaper article below)! How William was able to piece everything together, I shall leave for you to discover.


Currently Reading…

I was able to finish reading two novels last week: The Screaming Staircase by Jonathan Stroud and The Nest by Kenneth Oppel and illustrated by Jon Klassen. I will be posting reviews of these two novels in the coming weeks.

I am currently reading finished reading Death by Neil Gaiman last night (a graphic novel I bought while I was in Perth a few weeks back) and I also devoured Carol Ann Duffy’s The Bees before retiring for the night.

I wanted to read something I can derive comfort from – something beautiful and lyrical, so I turned to poetry. While there were quite a few beautiful poems in this collection (The Bees) that I loved, much of them were not that accessible – only a few really resonated with me. So the hunt for an edifying, soul-enriching read continues.

I am also planning to read these two novels for our current reading theme:


Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard for my GatheringReaders book club at the Jurong West Public Library and Trigger Warning: Short Fictions and Disturbances by Neil Gaiman.


Penguin In Peril was nominated for the Kate Greenaway Medal 2014, and shortlisted for numerous awards including; Waterstones Children’s Book Prize 2014, Peters Book Award 2014 and The Cambridge Read It Again Award 2014.

#AWBRead2015 Update: 102 (35)

12 comments on “[Monday Reading] Meet an International Cat of Mystery, a Penguin in Peril, and Robber Cats in Helen Hancocks’ Picturebooks

  1. Enjoy your books! I am curious about The Nest. Thanks for sharing, and here are MY WEEKLY UPDATES

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Love the look of all the picture books and William and the Missing Masterpiece looks and sounds a load of fun.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow, your description of Helen Hancock’s art makes me want to run right out and find these two books. I’m looking forward to reading what you thought of The Screaming Staircase!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I cannot wait to read The Nest! Looking forward to your thoughts on it.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Looking forward to spending Thanksgiving break reading! Thanks for some awesome suggestions!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I read Red Queen earlier on this year and really loved it – that’s coming from someone who doesn’t always get on with dystopian novels. I’ve heard a lot of mixed reviews on it though, especially from those who read a lot of dystopian books and find it be very same-y.

    Happy reading!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I have The Nest, a must read soon, I know. Thanks for this author new to me-Helen Hancocks. The books look so interesting for older students, especially the subtle illustrations. I hope you find a book that’s soothing. I shared Barbara Crooker’s Small Rain a few weeks ago, find it marvelous. Thanks, Myra.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I just looked up Small Rain in our library databases – unfortunately we don’t have a copy yet – both in our public libraries and our institution’s library. 😦


  8. Yay you found some mystery picture books. Penguin in Peril was fun!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Awesome post!!

    Love everything about it.

    THE BEES caught me eye.

    ENJOY your reading week.

    Silver’s Reviews
    My It’s Monday, What Are You Reading

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Have a great week!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Enjoy all the books…. I need to give Neil Gaiman a try one of these days!

    Liked by 1 person

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