Review Blog

Aug 15 2010

The truth about penguins by Meg McKinlay and illustrated by Mark Jackson

cover image

Walker Books Australia, 2010. ISBN 9781 921150 48 7.
(Ages 5+) Picture book. The zoo is agog with excitement, as the animals have heard that the penguins are coming. The story does the rounds, going through the zoo from the meercats, to the giraffe, to the otters, the owl, the bats, the anteaters and so on, each adding their own bit of information about what penguins are like and what they do.  All the while, illustrator Mark Jackson draws the penguins to reflect what the animals say about them, adding gaudy beach outfits, suitcases, party hats, all causing laughter from the audience, whether it being read alone or in a group.
The penguins are said to fly south for winter, love pizzas, love wearing jazzy beach wear but don't like putting their feet into the cold water. When the animals start telling stories about the penguins' parenting skills, the zoo keeper calls a halt to all the misinformation and tells them the truth about penguins. But in the background we can see the penguins arriving, and guess who is right?
A very funny look at truths and half truths, this book will cause great delight amongst the audience as kids will giggle about the half truths, calling out what they know, they will giggle with the beautiful drawings of the animals in the zoo, look out for their favourites, marvel at the correct information at the end and then laugh all over again at the last page. What a treat.
Fran Knight

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