Baby Penguins Everywhere! by Melissa Guion
There was a penguin who was all alone on the ice floes. She liked the quiet, but sometimes it did get lonely. Then one day, she discovered a top hat floating in the water. Once the hat was on land, out popped a little penguin. And then another! The big penguin was very happy and no longer lonely. But then came another little penguin, and more, and more. Soon there were many, many little penguins everywhere. The big penguin was very busy and quite tired. She knew she just needed on little thing – a moment of quiet and solitude. But after that, she merrily joined in the fun with all of the other penguins again.
Guion frames her message about the need for quiet and solitude in a way that children will understand. The big penguin needs a little break, just like their parents sometimes do. The best part though, is that after that break, they are ready for more fun! The writing here is simple, making it just right for toddlers.
It is Guion’s art that really shines here. The delight of the first two little penguins is perfection and then the surprise of turning the page and realizing that they just keep on coming makes the book even more fun. Guion has her little penguins in constant motion, playfully coming up with new ideas and new toys. This is much more like a class than a family, so teachers may appreciate using this book as a way to explain their own need for some quiet time too.
A cheerful look at peace and quiet, this book is wonderfully rowdy too. Appropriate for ages 2-4.
Reviewed from ARC received from author.
Penguin and Pinecone by Salina Yoon
One day Penguin found something strange in the snow. It was a pinecone and realized that it was cold. Penguin quickly knitted Pinecone a scarf that matched his, but Pinecone just kept shivering. So Penguin headed on a journey to return Pinecone to his forest home. When they got to the forest of towering pines, Penguin built a nest for Pinecone and a heart of stones around him. Penguin returned home but kept wondering what had happened to his friend. So he set off once again to find out. Readers will be charmed by the conclusion of this tale of an unusual but heartfelt friendship.
Yoon excels at simple illustrations and simple words. Here she has created a world of sunny friendship in the chill north. The words are simple enough to use with toddlers and they will appreciate the love of a found object at that age too. Yoon’s illustrations have a wonderful jolly nature, creating a world that is clearly safe and loving.
A great pick for friendship or penguin story times, this book will also work well for winter units. Appropriate for ages 2-4.
Reviewed from library copy.
One Cool Friend by Toni Buzzeo, illustrated by David Small
Elliot was a very proper boy, dressed in his tuxedo and bow tie. When his father asked if he wanted to go to the aquarium one day, he went along despite worries about loud kids. When they got to the aquarium, his father sat down to read and sent Elliot off to have some fun. Elliot went past the jellyfish, the saltwater display, and the hands-on tide pool and discovered the penguins! He immediately connected with the birds and then asked his father if he could have one. His father glanced at a poster for plush penguins and agreed. But Elliot did not have a plush penguin in mind. Instead, he brought home a real penguin. Once back home, Elliot wasted no time in creating a perfect penguin habitat. But after days of happy living, what in the world would his father say when he discovered the penguin?
This book has its own wonderful feel. From the dapper lad in the lead role to his couch-loving, slow-moving father, it has the feel of a classic book but also one that is delightfully modern as well. Buzzeo’s writing is fresh and funny, creating a book that is both inviting and compelling. It also has great twists throughout where you never know what will happen next. In other words, it’s a stellar read.
Small’s art is what provides a large part of the feel of the book. His tuxedo wearing kid, the splash of green that is the father, and the busts of other colors throughout. The use of primarily blacks and whites to tell the story pays homage to its subject and also gives it the marvelous stylized feel that works so well.
The great librarian character at one point doesn’t hurt the book one smidge either! This is a dapper, dazzling read that is creative, funny and a delight. Appropriate for ages 4-6.
Reviewed from copy received from Dial Books for Young Readers.
Tacky Goes to Camp by Helen Lester, illustrated by Lynn Munsinger.
Another great entry in the Tacky series, this time Tacky and his fellow penguins are headed to summer camp. It is a rather frozen and snowy, summer camp, but most of the activities are the same. There is swimming, sleeping in tents, archery, canoeing, and arts and crafts. Tacky does things in his own unique way, especially compared to the other penguins who follow the rules, march in line, and don’t ever color outside the lines. At the campfire, there are smores and stories. Tacky eats as many smores as possible and tells a very scary story, Beware the bear, that ends with a joke. The other penguins are unimpressed until a bear enters their camp that night. Tacky is asleep in a smore-induced stupor but still manages to save the day.
Tacky is great humor for kids. They will relate to his messiness, his inattention to details, and his amazing hunger for sweets. They will laugh along with the story, happily knowing that Tacky will save the day. Lester manages to create a story with humor and drama but no real fear for children. Munsinger’s art sings along with the storyline, carrying some of the more visual humor.
This light-hearted winner is a perfect for hot summer days or cold wintry ones. It is a book that I would read aloud to slightly older children who will enjoy the humor and the setting. Appropriate for ages 4-6, though children as old as 8 will love the story read aloud.