Review Blog

Jul 15 2008

The naked penguin by Kym Lardner

cover image

ABC Books, 2008.
(Age 5-7) The little penguin has no white front, he is all black. He tries to make friends, but he is spurned for being different. Trying to be the same, he makes a white front for himself but is laughed at. He asks the skiing kangaroo for help and the blue whale, but gets nowhere. Finally he decides to leave, but then he sees the pink dolphin, swimming happily with the grey ones, and the bird with the tufty curl, happily bobbing on top of the water with the other birds. He remembers what his father said, 'though you are different, you are not less', and armed with that piece of information, he rejoins the other penguins.

Beautifully illustrated, the story of the penguin is a treat. The simple landscapes with the bluey green colours make the reader feel cold, but kids will laugh out loud at the antics of the penguins on their bikes. Each page has a difference to be searched for, be it the animals in unusual circumstances, the cold of the deep blue sea, the storm clouds overhead or the trail of an airplane. For those kids who do feel different, the story shows them that being different is fine, for those who feel that difference singles people out, the story shows them that difference is part of being in a group. The story will make any reader feel a sense of belonging, of togetherness, as the little penguin finds his feet amongst the other penguins.
Fran Knight

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