Popo the Emperor Penguin by Beverly Jatwani. Illus. by Annabelle Hale

cover image

An expedition ship Southern Ice, cruises past an island off the coast of Antarctica.  Seb’s parents are indulging in their breakfast on the deck but Seb only has eyes for the Emperor penguin, his favourite animal. He has been looking forward to this trip for months. At last they have arrived and Seb and the other expeditioners don their outside protective clothing for a trek on Snow Hill Island. But once there, Seb finds it harder than he thought and when an avalanche occurs, the group is inundated by snow. Hannah contacts the ship and help is on its way, but by now their teeth are chattering, and someone has realised that Seb is missing. Metres away Seb is being warmed by an Emperor penguin. The Emperor’s squawk brings many of its compatriots to the scene, and soon enough all the trekkers are being kept warm by the penguins, long enough for the rescuers to appear and take them back to the ship. Seb and the others are full of gratitude to the penguins for saving their lives.

Suitably cold illustrations with lots of ice ad snow fill the background on every page, and readers will empathise with the group trapped beneath the snow, waiting for rescue. It's enough to make their teeth chatter. Lots of information about these penguins is given at the end of the book, with a double page devoted to the virtues exemplified by each of the seven books in this series, Together we can change the world. One is set on each of the seven continents and each has a virtue told within the story. These are applied to a map of the world and a montage of each of the series can be found inside the back cover. Each provides a leap into discussions about the environment and how we can help it along. Teacher's notes are available.

Themes: Emperor penguins, Antarctica, Ships, Cruising, Environment, Continents.

Fran Knight