Title: Penguin Bloom: Younger Reader’s Edition
Author: Chris Kunz, based from the screenplay by Shaun Grant and Harry Cripps
Publisher: HarperCollins Australia
Published: 21st January 2021
Synopsis: Inspired by the true story of an unlikely hero, and adapted from the major motion picture starring Naomi Watts, Andrew Lincoln and Jacki Weaver
I guess we all kinda knew our life was perfect and that we wouldn’t change a thing.
But sometimes you don’t get that choice, do you? Sometimes stuff happens that you would do anything to try to avoid. But you can’t. And that’s what happened to us.
Penguin Bloom tells the true story of Sam Bloom, a young mother whose world is turned upside down after a near-fatal accident leaves her unable to walk. Sam’s husband, her three young boys and her mother are struggling to adjust to their new situation when an unlikely ally enters their world in the form of an injured baby magpie they name Penguin. The bird’s arrival is a welcome distraction for the Bloom family, eventually making a profound difference in the family’s life.
This young readers’ edition, adapted from the major Australian motion picture starring Naomi Watts, tells their story through the eyes of Noah, one of the three Bloom boys.
When Sam Bloom was injured whilst on holiday in Thailand, her life, and the lives of her family changed forever. They are all struggling to adjust to this new reality, working out how to make everything work in a short space of time when her son, Noah, finds an abandoned baby magpie one day, and takes it home to help it heal. Little does he know what Penguin’s presence will do to help his mum, and by extension, help the entire family heal. This edition is adapted from the screenplay, and aimed at a younger audience, as a way of communicating the story in text form as well as the photo books already published for adults, and the movie aimed at all ages that has come out recently in a world still grappling with COVID in many ways.
It is good to see so many strong Australian stories coming out – as books and films at the moment, and hopefully, this is a trend that will continue and that will bolster not only our economy, but our arts industry, which is in need of support in all its forms in this world where we are emerging from restrictions and lockdowns, and where outbreaks can happen anywhere at any time. The arts got us through the worst of in 2020 (in Australia), and we should be working to give back. Supporting authors, supporting live events where you can, or attending virtual events – all these show we value the arts and those who work within them in a myriad of jobs.
It is unusual for a book to be based on or adapted from a movie or screenplay. I have read books based on stage plays, but very rarely have I read a book based on a movie, so this was a unique experience. The story is simply told, as it is through the eyes of a child – Noah – and how he coped with what happened to his mother, and how he tried to help and what he saw happening. It is a touching story of how the simple things can help when everything else seems like it won’t, or when it feels like there is no hope. The family tensions are shown in a way that illustrates how we all deal with tragedy or accidents differently – and how everyone has a different approach. This book gives us the story of Penguin and the Blooms in text form, and can be read alone, or as well as seeing the movie, and together, they will hopefully enrich the experience of the story in each medium.
The focus was very much on the family’s relationship with Penguin and how the bird helped them all heal. This touching story is one that is filled with hope, and shows that there is always a way to heal, and that even when things seem like they’ll never be the same again, new opportunities arise and can lead to surprising ventures and outcomes. Just as the Blooms helped Penguin learn to fly, and grow up, Penguin helped to heal the Blooms, bring them closer as a family and restore their hope in life, and help lead them towards a brighter future.