This delightful film - a true story of how a troublemaking Maremma sheepdog became guardian to an endangered colony of penguins - has already been a hit in Australia and it’s released in the UK in time for half-term. Off the coast from the small town of Warrnambool in Australia lies Middle Island, a sanctuary that was home to thousands of the world’s smallest penguins. But since foxes learned to cross the shallow channel to the island, penguin numbers have plunged. And if they fall below ten, park ranger Emily Marsh will be out of a job.
This worries her father, eccentric chicken farmer Swampy Marsh. His wife ran the sanctuary, and when she passed away, Emily stepped in, while Swampy retreated to his farm. One day Swampy rescues an injured penguin from the island and discovers to his amazement that Oddball – who can’t bring himself to guard chickens – is an expert at guarding penguins! With two weeks until the final penguin count, Swampy and his grand-daughter Olivia devise a crazy plan – train the disorderly and unpredictable Oddball to protect the penguins and save the sanctuary, while somehow keeping the operation a secret from everyone. Will Emily discover the truth? What about the suspicious Dogcatcher? And who is the shadowy person trying to make sure the sanctuary closes?
When/Where: In cinemas nationwide from 12 February
Price: Ticket prices vary
Find out more: See your local cinema website
Kim Jones is an experienced journalist who has worked at various women’s weekly magazines, and now freelances for them and the national papers writing about travel, health and lifestyle. She lives in Cardiff with her partner and their two sons, aged 15 and 11 and loves persuading them all to come away on holidays with her in the family VW camper van.
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