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4.6 out of 5 stars
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4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 22 November 2006
This is a great book. From start to finish it holds the reader's thrall. It is well written and engaging whether you like the game of cricket or not, it is a funny account of the experiences of a less than professional cricket XI as they attempt to play the game on evry continent in the world over a limited time. It is worth mentioning however that although it offers much to the general reader, the most satisfaction and enjoyment will be had by those with an appreciation and an understanding of the little nuances, subtleties and terms inherent in the game of cricket, after all "tickling it down to fine leg" and "firing it in just short of a length" is not in everyone's natural parlance!
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on 24 April 2006
Penguins Stopped Play is a remarkable account of the infamous Captain Scott XI which has already featured in 'Rain Men' & 'Zimmer Men' by Marcus Berkmann.

This time the focus is on the over seas tours the team embarked upon and the hilarious, embarrassing and awful situations that followed them around the globe. (I particularly enjoyed the withering attack on BA).

If you enjoy Cricket & travel then this book is a must. It is constantly laugh out loud funny with great stories on travel, sport & friendship. Well written and observant not only on foreign lands & cricket but also on the people that participate and play this silly game.

The books conclusion is particularly moving and poignant with the author facing the challenges of a terminal illness, which is met with much bravery and a straight bat. Penguins Stopped Play is a great book and Harry Thompson will be missed even by those who didn't know him! Thanks Harry!
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on 27 September 2006
'Penguins Stopped Play' is an utterly eccentric but delightful tale, filled with humour and pathos. If you want to undertand the mind of an Englishman, this is the book for you.

Driven to make the journey of a lifetime, Harry Thompson and his team conquer the world in pursuit of cricket. There's good chunks of travel writing here, some brilliant characterisation, and a good many jokes. It's a refreshing read, which you'll polish off in a session. The book's haunting ending will remain with you for a long, long time.
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'Penguins Stopped Play' is a rollicking travelogue that takes the reader from the frozen cricket fields of Antartica to the sweaty skyscrapers of Singapore. So much more than an ex-county nobody's boring bio, Harry Thompson writes with peerless wit and the elegance of a Gower cover-drive. His book combines hilarious tour disasters, with quirky match analyses, amid vivid landscape depictions. His character studies will make you feel you're part of the fledgling Scott XI.

Laugh-out-loud funny in parts, bewildering in others, and tragic in its conclusion, 'Penguins Stopped Play' is a must for all sports fans. It is a great shame that this hero of British comedy will be unable to produce a follow-up.
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on 29 August 2006
This brilliant book will make you laugh out loud. Please don't let the fact that it's about cricket put you off - it's more about relationships between the very different (and funny) characters, drawn together to play cricket as it is a travel novel.

Fantastic!
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on 29 September 2006
Probably the funniest book i've read. If you like cricket you'll love this. I dont think 1 page went by without me laughing out loud. The author invented 'Have I Got News For You' and 'Never Mind The Buzzocks'.
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on 7 June 2006
A classic true tale of eccentricity extra-ordinaire, Penguins Stopped Play is far more that a book on either foreign climes or the daft sport of cricket. At times extra-ordinarily funny, the book provides a great insight into the cultures touched, molested or even fostered by the British, and demonstrates how, through sport, timeless friendships are built. That the book ends on such a final, tragic note only goes to enhance the verve with which Harry Thompson attacked his aim of playing cricket on every continent. It is a most fitting epitaph to his endeavours and will remind all readers how we must make the most of our brief time on this "mortal coil".
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on 5 May 2007
The previous reviewer evidently has missed the point of this warm and funny book entirely. This is NOT a serious piece of cricket writing, nor does it purport to be. Harry Thompson did NOT play cricket seriously, nor did he purport to. He and his friends played for the total love of the game, and that love shines out of this tale of their mishaps as they tour the world. This book is for people who love sport, cricket in particular, to the point where they'd go to extreme lengths to enjoy it (game on the ice in the Antarctic anyone?)- but love friendship and fun even more.
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on 6 November 2006
Being brought up in a cricket-loving household, I'm predisposed to like all things cricket related, even if I'm not actually a fan. I bought this because I enjoyed another book by Harry Thompson and thought this would be a good one to read and pass on to my brother.

I found it funny and enjoyable, but I disagree with the reviewer who says you don't need to be a cricket fan; I think you do, or a lot of the humour and irony will pass you by. My brother (who's an ex-pat and deprived of all things cricketing) will love it.
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on 8 March 2017
A very well written book that I found difficult to put down: laugh-out-loud funny in many places, poignant and informative in others. To my mind, there are similarities to the likes of Tony Hawks (the comedian not the skateboarder) or Bill Bryson without the boring bits. However, you probably do have to be a cricket fan to fully appreciate it.

It's such a pity Mr Thompson didn't live long enough to have written more books like this.
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