Review Blog

Feb 05 2010

The penguin who wanted to find out by Jill Tomlinson

cover image

Ill. by Paul Howard. Egmont, 2009. ISBN 9781405230414.
(Ages 6-9) Recommended. It's wonderful to see a picture book that is full of information, while stimulating the imagination with great characterisation and beautiful illustrations. Otto is a baby penguin chick who lives on his father's feet in the Antarctica. He wants to find out about lots of things: Why hasn't he fallen off since he lives at the bottom of the world? What is a blizzard? And what is the funny feeling he has in his tummy? As Otto grows and begins to leave the safety of his father's sheltering feathers and feet, he learns that the only way for penguins to survive in this harsh environment is to look after each other.
Paul Howard's illustrations are an excellent accompaniment to the text, following Otto as he discovers a blizzard, looks after the other little chicks, learns to toboggan and torpedo out of the water. The deep blues of the Antarctic sky and seas contrast with the whites of the snow. The penguins are washed with a pale gold and they stand out perfectly against this backdrop. The care that the penguins show each other comes across strongly in both the text and pictures.
This is a perfect book for those children who are making the transition from picture books to chapter books as it has more complex sentences than many picture books. I found the factual information about emperor penguins that I discovered from inquisitive little Otto quite fascinating and unforgettable. What a lovely way to learn!
Pat Pledger

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