Review Blog

Jun 27 2014

Alberta by Tania Cox

cover image

Ill. by Janine Dawson. Working Title Press, 2014. ISBN 9781921504037.
(Age: 4-8) Recommended. Penguins, Family, Eggs, Siblings, Antarctica. Alberta is thrilled when her penguin parents tell her of the imminent arrival of a sister. Being Alberta, she expects the sister to be big, just as she was able to bring in a big fish to show her friends, or find a huge slide for her friends to slide down, or gather together a huge snowball, much larger than those of her peers. Everything Alberta does is on the large size, and her expectations are just the 'Alberta way'.
When her parents build their nest of stones, she builds one too, a tower which sways over the land. Her father realises that her expectations are not realistic, and she is disappointed when the first egg arrives and is rather small. The second egg is just the same, and Alberta is asked to look after them when her parents go off to catch some fish. Alberta almost loses the eggs to an egg thief but throws a stone to the bird just in time. Then when the eggs hatch she is thrilled.
A charming tale first published in 2007, of siblings, of family and parenthood, the penguin depicted reflects the feelings shown by children when a new addition occurs within the family, and lead to much discussion about what this means.
The Gentoo (Gentu) penguins shown in this tale do build nests of stones, unlike the ones many children will be used to from Happy Feet, so discussion about these penguins and where they live will bring in another point of interest for children. The lively illustrations show clearly what life is like in this part of the world, a barren landscape with little vegetation, snow and ice and a very cold sea.
Fran Knight

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