Review Blog

Dec 31 2019

Pip finds a home by Elena Topouzoglou

cover image

New Frontier, 2019. ISBN: 9781925594744. 32pp., hbk.
When Pip is discovered wandering around the Arctic by a young explorer, she tells him that penguins live at the South Pole and gathers him up and takes him there on their ship. When he eventually meets up with some penguins, they are very friendly but they discover he is not one of them. They are Adelie penguins. Perhaps he is a Macaroni penguin because he jumps like them but doesn't have feathers on his head. Or maybe an Emperor, although he is too short. Or a Gentoo but his beak is black and white, not orange . . . Just what sort of penguin is he?
This is a charming story that introduces young readers to the variety of penguins that inhabit the Antarctic as well as showing that there can be friendship and fun amongst us, even if we are a little different. None of the penguin species shunned Pip because he wasn't quite like them - he is accepted immediately for who he is, a nice change from some darker stories I have read and reviewed recently.
When Pip's species is revealed, it is a surprise and there is more information about him and his kind on the final page, as well as brief notes about the species who befriend him. Older readers might like to speculate about why we do not see Pip and his relatives today. Very topical.
Illustrated in a manner and palette that is as soft and gentle as the narrative, this could be the introduction to a study of endangered and extinct species, starting even the youngest readers thinking about how gentle they can be on the environment.
Teachers notes are available.
Barbara Braxton

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