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Penguin Problems

(The Life of Ty #1)

3.52  ·  Rating details ·  296 ratings  ·  83 reviews
A brand-new illustrated chapter book series by New York Times bestselling author Lauren Myracle!
Winnie Perry’s sweet baby brother, Ty, is the quintessential dreamer, full of big ideas and wacky plans that only a seven-year-old boy could hatch. Whether it’s battling the family cat with a Dustbuster or smuggling a baby penguin out of the aquarium, Ty is always in the middle of
Hardcover, 128 pages
Published May 2nd 2013 by Dutton Books for Young Readers
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Average rating 3.52  · 
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 ·  296 ratings  ·  83 reviews

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Mary Ann
Life is full of changes for seven-year-old Ty, and he’s not happy about it. His mom is exhausted taking care of his new baby sister, his best friend is in the hospital, and now his big sister Sandra is driving him to school. Sandra won’t even walk him into 2nd grade; in fact, she shoves him out of the car! In this series spinoff, Myracle returns again to this engaging Perry family from her Winnie Years series (Eleven, Penguin, 2004, etc.), bringing her ear for sibling relationships and family dy ...more
Elissa Schaeffer
Jan 20, 2014 rated it it was ok
I so wanted to like Ty, and for the most part I did, but there were some things that I couldn't get past.

Seven-year-old Ty is faced with some big changes, most notably with his mom and his new baby sister. His new sister takes up so much of his mom's time and energy that she hardly has any left for Ty! In fact, his oldest sister Sandra drives him to school now and she won't even walk him to the school, she stays in the car instead. Things just aren't like they used to be, and it's ha
Oct 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: chapterbooks
I LOVED this book. Ty is so very real and so intensely lovable in his vulnerability, sweetness, and wildness, too. He reminded me a LOT of my own older son, which made parts of this book even more poignant for me to read. (And when I then started reading the book to my son, he said he thought he and Ty would DEFINITELY be friends.)

The interactions between him and the other kids rang so, so true (sometimes painfully true, from the perspective of a parent); so did the dynamic between him and his
The most ungenuine children in a didactic slog.
Jun 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
*Part of a series, author of Upside Down Magic series
Note: Add a slide with The Winnie Years books on it.
This book is about the adventures of a boy named Ty Perry. He has two older sisters, and one brand-new one, Baby Maggie.

When Baby Maggie came, a lot changed in the Perry household. Ty is determined to be as helpful as he can. Except sometimes it’s hard. Especially when Mom and Dad don’t seem to have enough time for you.

School is pretty OK, as long as Ty’s b
Molly Cluff (Library!)
Mar 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: intermediate
Really cute story with tons of spunky voice. Ty is a seven year old in a family of four kids, and feels left out now that there's a baby in his family. At his class field trip, he abducts a baby penguin (that doesn't happen til WAY into the story). I loved how all the plot points came full circle (the pacifiers, the sisters being mean to him). There is some potty humor, meanness from Ty owing to being jealous of the baby, and one instance where an older sister says "god" (gasp!) which our very s ...more
Mar 02, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: portfolio-1
Life of Ty is about a young boy who deals with a lot of struggles other kids his age may not have to experience, such as his best friend having leukemia. on a trip to the aquarium, Ty wonders of and finds himself with a baby penguin that he decides to keep not knowing what he was doing. this is a fun chapter book for ages 6-9.
Apr 01, 2019 rated it it was ok
About a 7 yr old second grader who is struggling with a new baby at home and doesn't like the shift in attention.
Liz James
Sep 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
My 2nd grade class loved this book! It was my first time with the series.
Aug 07, 2018 rated it liked it
Like Ty better than Stink or Roscoe Riley because he is more thoughtful. Great book for classroom library, but maybe not for book club because of the potty talk...
May 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is a darling story and sooo fun to read aloud!
Oct 04, 2016 rated it liked it
I'm conflicted about this one. See for details!
Katie Fitzgerald
Ty is seven years old, a second grader, and the only boy in his family. His older sisters (one of whom is Winnie from Myracle’s middle grade series The Winnie Years) are busy teenagers, and his baby sister, called Teensy Baby Maggie, takes up all of his mother’s time and energy, leaving Ty feeling left out and misunderstood. His best friend is also in the hospital with leukemia, so he’s working on finding other kids to hang out with, like Lexie, even though she can sometimes be mean and bossy. W ...more
Apr 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: childrens-books
Ty is seven years old and has a pretty complicated life. He has a new baby sister who is taking all of his mom’s time and attention. His older sisters won’t walk him into school like his mom used to, insisting that he can do it all on his own. His best friend is in the hospital battling cancer, and Ty’s other friends can be confusing and even alarming. Ty keeps getting into trouble at home for things like chasing the cat with a Dustbuster. Then on the school trip to the aquarium, Ty takes a baby ...more
Sep 28, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: children-s, meghan
I really liked this book. Sometimes easier chapter books written for this age group (2nd/3rd graders) are annoying (Junie B. Jones) or just so generic that they don't stand out. This one, though, was cute, funny, and featured a likable and realistic 2nd grade boy. He's a good kid, but he still has moments when he gets in trouble with his parents and teacher. All of the characters are realistically written - from Ty's classmate who can't stay on task, to the (mostly) patient teacher, to the harri ...more
Sep 03, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: j, not-graphic, life, voice
By the end of this book I was convinced Ty might be a real person who reacted realistically to situations and surroundings, displaying the appropriate frustration and accompanying inappropriate responses to feeling ignored at home due to a new baby in the house and to ruffians and rough social dynamics at school.

At the beginning of the book, though, well, let me share a quote from Neil Gaiman's The Ocean at the End of the Lane :
I was a normal child. Which is to say, I was selfish and/>
YA Reads Book Reviews
May 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nichole
Originally posted on, reviewed by Nichole.

The Life of Ty: Penguin Problems was so gosh darn cute! Penguin must have sensed my need for an awesome children's book. This is a really quick read, and I have to stress that it is meant for children. It's a little lower than a middle grade book. It's more of a children's book, probably for younger elementary students.

The illustrations in The Life of Ty were well done. They fit in perfectly with the story and kept me entertained.
Jun 12, 2014 rated it it was ok
Penguin Problems is a story about a seven year old named Ty. His life has been changed by a baby sister, and Ty is figuring it all out. This book must be written with the advanced but young reader in mind. It is realistic fiction, but, despite his best friend fighting leukemia (just touched on), the book is very clean and safe, with Ty going through adjustments relatable to most kids. Personally, I go back and forth between it's a nice safe book and it's just too clean, too perfect. And, it's de ...more
Apr 26, 2013 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 13, 2013 rated it really liked it
Lol, Ty. This was a great, sweet little story that I'd give to a 3rd grade boy in a heartbeat. There were a few references in here that I think would make more sense to someone who had read the Winnie books first, even though they're not at all the same audience, but overall the story was pretty self-contained. When I read the first Winnie book, I seriously felt as if Lauren Myracle had crawled into the mind of an eleven-year-old girl, and now I feel as if she's crawled into the mind of a seven- ...more
Jul 08, 2013 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Ty has problems. He is not the center of attention in his family anymore. Baby Meggie is taking all of mom's time and Ty is feeling left out. Life at school isn't any better. His best friend is in the hospital with cancer and he has to hang out with other kids. Ty wanders off on a field trip and ends up taking a baby penguin home from the aquarium. His older sister come to the rescue and mom agrees to spend more time with him. There needs to be more beginning chapter books for boys, but I am not ...more
Kim Harris
Jun 29, 2014 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: 2nd, 3rd
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 05, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: family, childrens, humor
This book has been little bit of laughing along with Taylor. Meanwhile, with Ty parents and teacher (mostly on Mrs. Webber) are going to respect for following on rules, especially with Ty. Then with penguins, they wish bring one to Ty house without any troubling, (view spoiler)! Penguins are some wild animal are living in aquarium, Kids are touring with teachers.

It was think, more wider about baby penguin (Pingy) in this book. However, whe()
Katie Lawrence
Jul 27, 2015 rated it liked it
A sweet, fun read about 7-year old Ty who is trying to cope with a new addition to the family, Maggie, who is taking up most of his mom's time. The family dynamics were great and I think many children would relate to the emotions Ty feels throughout. While the part at the aquarium seemed a bit far fetched, in a way k could see kids enjoying that idea as a fun, rascally thing for Ty to do. Sometimes 2nd graders don't realize something is a bad idea until afterwards. Ty reminded me of Ramona a bit ...more
Ty isn't feeling quite like himself. He's mad and lonely because his mom isn't paying enough attention to him (there's a new baby in the family that takes up lots of her time), his best friend is in the hospital and the other kids at school aren't that much fun to play with, and he is stuck between wanting to stay little and wanting to grow up. At the class field trip to the aquarium, he does something out of character--wanders away from the group and kidnaps a penguin! How will he get out of th ...more
Susan  Dunn
I luuuuuuved the Winnie books, so was really excited for this one, about Winnie's little brother. It was cute, but not at the same caliber. Ty is stuck in the middle now that "Teensy Baby Maggie" has come along. And being in the middle is not a fun place to be. His big sisters have their own lives, and his mom is so busy with the baby that she doesn't have much time to pay any attention to Ty. When he acts out to get attention, then he gets in trouble. Realistic and funny, this is a great slice ...more
Cheriee Weichel
Apr 20, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: chapter-books
Probably this should be 3.5, but I'm going up rather than down. I just love this whole family. Ty is a sweet boy who has two older and a new baby sister. Since the new baby came along, it hasn't been easy for him. His mother's time is consumed with the new baby, leaving Ty feeling abandoned. To add to his misery, his best friend, Joseph is in the hospital getting treated for leukemia. On a school field trip to the aquarium, Ty ends up doing something he shouldn't. Luckily, this is a family that ...more
Sep 16, 2013 rated it it was ok
Ty is one very energetic 7 year old, but lately he's been a little lonely because his baby sister Maggie is taking up a lot of his mom's time. Left to his own devices Ty manages to get himself into quite the pickle, and if it weren't for his awesome sisters he'd really be in big trouble this time! Beginning and/or reluctant readers will like this silly story that deals with bullying, identity, and doing the right thing.
May 16, 2013 rated it really liked it
The Life of Ty: Penguin Problems is an absolutely delightful read! It was so darn cute. Ty is a character who readers will be sure to relate with, and he has just a wonderful voice.

I loved the illustrations - they were the perfect compliment to the story.

Ty is dealing with growing up and becoming more independent, all while getting used to sharing his mom with his new baby sister. Plus, there is the crazy scheme with a penguin Ty ends up doing and it was way too cute.

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Lauren Myracle is the author of numerous young adult novels. She was born in 1969 in North Carolina. Lauren Myracle holds an MA in English from Colorado State University and an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College. she has written many novels, including the famous IM books, ttyl, ttfn, and l8r, g8r.

Her first novel, Kissing Kate, was selected as one of ALA's

Other books in the series

The Life of Ty (3 books)
  • Non-Random Acts of Kindness (The Life of Ty, #2)
  • Friends of a Feather (The Life of Ty, #3)