Book Review

BOOK REVIEW: Geronimo by David Walliams

I have a bit of a love affair with David Walliams, this is because I have two children who are complete bookworms. They love nothing more than curling up on the sofa and either reading his books to themselves or listening to us read his delectable tales to them. He is their generations Roald Dahl and I can’t champion his books or him as an author more highly. David Walliams has given children that insatiable thirst for reading and in my book that is something to be cherished and celebrated!
Geronimo or to give the book its full title Geronimo The Penguin Who Thought He Could Fly is a delightful book, illustrated by the quite brilliant Tony Ross is up there with the greats of picture books (Judith Kerr, Oliver Jeffers, Michael Bond and Janet & Allan Ahlberg) a wonderfully crafted book both inside and out.
The book tells the story of Geronimo a baby penguin who want’s to and believes with all his feathered little body that he can fly – a plucky fellow who doesn’t take no for an answer. His father continually tells him that penguins cant soar in the sky like the other birds, stating that it is physically impossible, but still Geronimo continues his pursuit to fly.
“Penguins can’t fly, son!” replied his father.
“Of course they can, Dad! Otherwise what have we got wings for? Watch!”
Geronimo sets about trying to get airborne using an elaborate and very creative mind, but unfortunately his trials are met with the sinking feeling of gravity pulling away at his blubbersome body, which inevitably brings him back down to earth, with a bump, a crash and a splash.
First he attempts creating a ski slope, hurtling down to a ramp where he soon becomes airborne but then plummets from the sky. Geronimo then leaps into the air and bounces off the rotund stomach of an Elephant Seal again he soars through the air only for gravity to bring him crashing back down to earth. Geronimo is a very tenacious little fellow and wont leave it there, he climbs onto a blue whale and sits over the blow hole…wooooshhh…he is propelled into the air, flying as he wished only for him to hit an iceberg with a DOOF. The next morning he boards an unsuspecting albatross and rides it, but soon the albatross and Geronimo fall from the sky.
Plucky little Geronimo decides to give up, his dream of flying lying tattered on the ground, he’s dejected and heads off to bed rather upset. Geronimo’s father decides to hatch a cunning plan! When Geronimo wakes in the morning he finds all the penguins in the colony standing on their heads at the edge of the ice. He questions them, asking what they are doing, they then tell him that he needs to jump off and soar into the sky (which is now the water – what with them being upside down) and so Geronimo does it, he takes the leap and begins to soar as he always wanted, flying around, darting through the water as if he was flying.
“I’m king of the sky!”
Sometimes with a little help and some upside down penguins, dreams really can come true.
There are a great many things to marvel at with Geronimo the language, story and illustrations all work together to make a book that is truly beautiful. But the one thing that got me as I sat there reading it to my children is that I wanted to be like the father penguin. I want to encourage my children (I do that already but I want to do it more), I want them to believe that anything is possible and if I can help with a little bit of upside down thinking…then that is what I will do!
Children should believe that they can be super heroes, that they can fly, that they can be anything that they put their little creative minds to. That is what I got from Geronimo – the feeling that we need to protect and support our children, to help them dream big dreams…instead of putting them in front of YouTube and seeing them turn into slime making machines!
If you are after a gift to enthuse young minds (and adult minds alike) then this is the book for you. The true magic of Walliams work is unleashed when you read his books as a family.
Geronimo is fabulous little picture book and you should read it to your children and help them believe that anything is possible…dream BIG!
Geronimo The Penguin who Thought He Could Fly! is published by HarperCollins Children’s Books and is available to purchase here.

David Walliams


Since beginning his publishing career in 2008, David Walliams has taken the children’s literary world by storm. His sixth book DEMON DENTIST was published in September 2013 and went straight to number one in the bestseller charts.

Previous bestsellers RATBURGER and GANGSTA GRANNY were also immediate number one hits, and the paperback of GANGSTA GRANNY dominated the UK charts in 2013, remaining at number one for a colossal 22 weeks.

David is currently the fastest growing children’s author in the UK. Following the Christmas 2012 success and BAFTA nomination of the BBC adaptation of his second book, MR STINK, starring Hugh Bonneville, GANGSTA GRANNY was aired in 2013 over Christmas. Walliams’ books have achieved unprecedented critical acclaim and it comes as no surprise that countless broadsheet reviewers have compared him to his all-time hero, Roald Dahl.

Reviewed by Ross Jeffery

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