Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus More

Review: The Penguin Lessons by Tom Michell

Posted by Teddyrose@1 on November 17, 2015
Posted in AnimalsBooks Read in 2015Memoir  | Tagged With: , , , | 13 Comments


‘I was hoping against hope that the penguin would survive because as of that instant he had a name, and with his name came the beginning of a bond which would last a life-time.’ 

Tom Michell is in his roaring twenties: single, free-spirited and seeking adventure. He has a plane ticket to South America, a teaching position in a prestigious Argentine boarding school, and endless summer holidays. He even has a motorbike, Che Guevara style. What he doesn’t need is a pet. What he really doesn’t need is a pet penguin. Set against Argentina’s turbulent years following the collapse of the corrupt Perónist regime, this is the heart-warming story of Juan Salvador the penguin, rescued by Tom from an oil slick in Uruguay just days before a new term. When the bird refuses to leave Tom’s side, the young teacher has no choice but to smuggle it across the border, through customs, and back to school. 

Whether it’s as the rugby team’s mascot, the housekeeper’s confidant, the host at Tom’s parties or the most flamboyant swimming coach in world history, Juan Salvador transforms the lives of all he meets – in particular one homesick school boy. And as for Tom, he discovers in Juan Salvador a compadre like no other… The Penguin Lessons is a unique and moving true story which has captured imaginations around the globe – for all those who dreamed as a child they might one day talk to the animals.
Watch for my review later in November, 2015.


Tom Michell grew up in southern England and wanted to travel.  In his 20’s, he went to teach at a boys boarding school in Argentina so that he could make money and travel.  This was at a time when Argentina’s dollar value fluctuated widely from day to day.  He was given an advance of 1 million pesos and told to spend it all on anything he think he might need right away. Otherwise it wouldn’t buy as much the next day.

When the school was on breaks he got to travel.  He went to Uruguay for a few days and he discovered many penguins by the sea all covered in oil and dead.  However, there was one penguin that was moving and he decided to rescue him.  He took the penguin to the place he was staying and cleaned him up in the bathtub.  He tried to bring him back to the sea where there wasn’t noticeable oil but the penguin followed him.

He figured that the penguin’s feathers were no longer waterproof and felt there was no alternative but to smuggle him across the border to Argentina and bring him back to the school with him.  He named the penguin Juan Salvador and everyone love him.

Tom Michell shares many of the stories and escapades that ensued while Juan Salvador was with him.  He also shared his travels and the turbulent times in Argentina.  This is a tender hearted memoir with lots of laughs and, yes, some tears.  The writing is lyrical and the book was near impossible to put down.  It is a very fast read and enjoyable read.  I adored this book and highly recommend it!


I received the ebook for my honest review. 

Giveaway Alert 

There is are only 2 days left to enter my giveaway of one print copy of Penguin Lessons by Tom Michell.  Enter here: http://theteddyrosebookreviewsplusmore.com/2015/11/giveaway-the-penguin-lessons-by-tom-michell.html#.Vkro8XarS70


Tom Michell

Tom Michell was born and grew up on the rural downs of southern England, where he grew to love animals, birds and plants. After living in Argentina he returned home and settled in Cornwall where he helps with the family business, tends a small plot of what he calls ‘good Cornish soil’ and sings with a local choir. He is an amateur artist and in his spare time he draws and paints subjects from the wildlife around his home, specialising in birds of prey. Tom is an enthusiastic proponent of understanding how humans can live in genuinely sustainable ways. He is married with four children and three grandchildren.

National Cat Day- Meet Meeka

Posted by Teddyrose@1 on October 30, 2015
Posted in Animals  | Tagged With: , | 10 Comments

AmandaI just found out that today was National Cat Day.  As many of you who have been following my website for awhile, you already know that my dear cat Amanda passed on just before the new year. I loved her dearly and still miss her so much.

I kept meaning to give you an update on our family status but have just been crazy Busy.

In May, I found out about a Snowshoe cat that was in a foster home needed a new home fast.  I wasn’t sure if I was ready for a new cat in our family yet.  I always worry when I lose a pet that I will put certain expectations on a new pet if I get one too soon.  However, Bill and I decided to meet the cat in need, Meeka.  Of course, it was love at first sight for me and we brought her home.

Luckily, like Amanda, Meeka loves to cuddle and sleeps with me every night all cuddles against me.  She has really filled that void.  She also like to give and receive kisses.  However, she is the most vocal cat I have ever known.  She is very good at communicating what she wants and when she is displeased.

When we adopted her back in May, she was a hefty 15 pounds.  The vet insisted that she Meeka and Suanneneeded to be on a diet and only be fed canned food.  The reason for canned food is the higher water content.  So, I put her on a diet right away.  She didn’t mind the canned food at all, she just wanted more of it and has made that abundantly clear, every single day. Despite her protests, she has lost 3 pounds to date.  Two more pounds to go.  After she lost the first two pound she has been a lot more active, running up and down the stairs and following me everywhere!  I mean EVERYWHERE!  She cries outside the door if I am in the bathroom.  LOL! The good thing though is that she is now getting exercise without even realizing it is part of her weight loss plan.

Meeka is about 6 years old. She is the first non-black cat I have had.



Amanda: R.I.P. 2008-Dec 28, 2014

Posted by Teddyrose@1 on January 1, 2015
Posted in Animals  | Tagged With: | 30 Comments


This is why we did not have a happy holiday this year.  Amanda stopped eating in the beginning of December.  After several tests, the only thing that came up was a urinary infection.  The vet gave us antibiotics and some appetite stimulants.  She ate a bit but not much.  The antibiotics were finished after 12 days but she still wasn’t eating enough.

More inconclusive tests, then an ultrasound and appetite stimulants.  Several things were found several treatments tried and failed and me force feeding her 3 times a day. After our vet consulted with a specialist there was nothing else that could be done.  We had to make a decision, keep force feeding her to keep her alive, stop and let her go naturally, or have her put down.  We couldn’t make her suffer, even though it would have meant having her a little longer.  She was too young to die!

I am heart broken!  Just when I think my tears have all dried up, they start again.  I miss her so.  She was my precious little girl.  She slept with me just about every night, curled up against my stomach, with a paw under my hand, one on top and her head on my hand.  If I moved and she couldn’t feel me any more she would put her paw out to make sure she could touch me.  Wonderful in the winter, a bit awkward in the summer but I never discouraged her because I loved being close to her too.

DSC_0011Now it is so hard to sleep without her.  And DJ misses her too.


Mommy will always love you Amanda!