From School Library Journal
Grade 2–5—This attractive picture book will satisfy report writers and browsers alike. Pringle describes how the "strange geese" were first sighted by Portuguese explorers off the coast of South America in 1520 and concludes with current concerns about global warming and pollution. In between is a wealth of information, from pooping to parenting, presented in an engaging, accessible narrative. Readers will be surprised to learn that there are 17 species of this flightless bird, the popular emperor in Antarctica being only one of many. "You probably did not think of the little blue penguin, which stands just sixteen inches tall. This smallest of all penguins lives along the coasts of southern Australia and southern New Zealand. It hops ashore into green forests, not snow and ice." The lifelike watercolor illustrations portray the subject with full spreads and boxed paintings accompanied by short, descriptive captions. Landscapes show the birds hunting squid, tobogganing on their bellies, and huddling to protect their eggs, while dramatic close-ups reveal the stiff spines in the mouth of a Rockhopper, two males fighting, a couple courting, and a poor "Macaroni penguin tangled in a fishing net." A map and chart show where the different species live. Sandra Markle's Growing Up Wild: Penguins
(S & S, 2002) is of comparable difficulty and contains striking photographs, but deals only with the Adélie species. Libraries will want to own both titles.—Barbara Auerbach, New York City Public Schools
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Penguins remain a perennial favorite of children, and there is no shortage of informational books about these remarkable, appealing birds. While most titles focus on the penguins of Antarctica, this installment in the Strange and Wonderful series highlights the diversity among the habitats, physical traits, and behaviors of the 17 amazingly adaptable species. Pringle's succinct text provides an engaging overview of penguin life, from the bird's supreme agility in the water to its extraordinary efforts to raise hatchlings, and it is filled with enough interesting facts that even penguin fans will find out something new. Henderson's realistic paintings vary between double-page spreads of penguins in their diverse Southern Hemisphere environments and finely detailed insets that echo the text. The final pages address the disastrous impact of water pollution, overfishing, and global warming on penguin populations and offer a list of Web sites where readers can find further information on penguins and their conservation. Kristen McKulskiCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved