Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.

Buy New
$13.85
  • List Price: $16.00
  • Save: $2.15 (13%)
FREE Shipping on orders with at least $25 of books.
In Stock.
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.
Deconstructing Penguins: ... has been added to your Cart
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 2 images

Deconstructing Penguins: Parents, Kids, and the Bond of Reading Paperback – May 3, 2005

4.7 out of 5 stars 21 customer reviews

See all 2 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Price
New from Used from
Kindle
"Please retry"
Paperback
"Please retry"
$13.85
$7.38 $4.74

After the Speech: When Teens Get Real
It's not just about dreams; it's about life. Inspiring stories from transparent hearts. Learn More
$13.85 FREE Shipping on orders with at least $25 of books. In Stock. Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.
click to open popover

Frequently Bought Together

  • Deconstructing Penguins: Parents, Kids, and the Bond of Reading
  • +
  • How to Teach Your Children Shakespeare
  • +
  • Give Your Child the World: Raising Globally Minded Kids One Book at a Time
Total price: $34.03
Buy the selected items together


Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. The benefits of learning to understand rich, layered narratives extend "far beyond the scope of fiction," say the authors, who lead a renowned book group for children and their parents at their small town library and who have written several other books on the subject of reading (Warmly Inscribed, etc.). Competing against Superbowl Sunday and countless other activities, their first attempt at a reading group was stacked against the odds. But because of their unusual ability to make reading fun and meaningful, their program has become a standard for parent-child reading groups around the country. This book, meant as a guide for those who want to set up their own reading clubs, offers a fantastic reading list beginning with Mr. Popper's Penguins for second graders and ending with The Time Machine for fifth graders. Many of the actual library sessions are discussed in detail, demonstrating the authors' terrific techniques for helping kids and parents see and debate the layers underlying the story, plot, characterizations, point of view and themes. "The highlight of almost any discussion is the discovery of what the author has implanted at the core of the book," they say. A distinguished work full of humor and wisdom, their book suggests that by encouraging children to read and talk about the mystery of complex, substantial books, parents and teachers can greatly expand young peoples' worlds and ultimately their life choices. As a lesson in how to enrich child-parent relationships, this book is great.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From School Library Journal

Even though many librarians around the country are already running successful book-discussion groups, the Goldstones have mapped out an approach that merits librarians' and teachers' valuable reading time by translating sophisticated concepts into accessible ideas and user-friendly strategies. By turning books into puzzles and suggesting that "the author's ideas are hidden," children are guided to go beneath superficial readings and initial responses to more in-depth discussion. Youngsters are encouraged to express their opinions with a single caveat–"interpretation must be consistent with the facts." The authors recycle traditional literary questions and tools with incredible clarity as they help kids address questions of who the protagonist/antagonist is until, ultimately, they discover what the book is really about. It is a thrilling journey. This wise, insightful book empowers readers, young and old, to engage more deeply with literature and shows with clarity the rewards for doing so. It is also a pleasure to read.–Judith Rovenger, Westchester Library System, NY
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

The latest book club pick from Oprah
"The Underground Railroad" by Colson Whitehead is a magnificent novel chronicling a young slave's adventures as she makes a desperate bid for freedom in the antebellum South. See more

Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books (May 3, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0812970284
  • ISBN-13: 978-0812970289
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.4 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #80,785 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By W. Kann on May 20, 2005
Format: Paperback
I cannot recommend Deconstructing Penguins highly enough. I am a mother of three children and Penguins is the first teaching/parenting book I've seen that has offered me such fun and easy tools with which to analyze and share literature as a family. The Goldstones' conviction that even young children are quite capable of and even excited about discussing serious ideas through critical reading is refreshing and right on the money. Children relish meaty moral conundrums. They love to have long discussions on ethics with their peers and parents or teachers (particularly when those discussions pertain to fictional characters rather than to themselves). The Goldstones' book looks at plot, setting, antagonist and protagonist in a way that will have most parents thinking "I had no idea it was so simple," and most teachers and librarians thanking their lucky stars.
Comment 38 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
"Deconstructing Penguins" empowers parents to believe they can have real debates about literature with their children right now, even as early as second grade! This is very exciting stuff. I can't wait to revisit some of the classic titles on the authors' reading list, such as Babe and Charlotte's Web, from a totally different perspective. For anyone who wants to start a parent-child reading group, this book is a god-send. Moreover, "Penguins" presents the most cogent approach to reading groups for adults or kids. In the years I've participated in book groups, including Great Books, I've always felt something was lacking from the discussion despite lots of bright people asking bright questions. After reading "Penguins," I now know what was missing: a unifying theme or framework for analyzing the book's true meaning. "Penguins" gives you that framework and a whole lot more. The authors show they understand great literature, as well as the minds of children. If only more libraries could be as leading edge as the authors' library in Westport, Conn.!!
Comment 13 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have been a fan of the Goldstones since reading their books on book-collecting, e.g. Used and Rare, Slightly Chipped etc. This book is different, it is about how to approach book discussions for both young and old. I am the parent of a two year old girl, and books are a big part of our lives [I am a book collector myself]...although this book may still be too advanced to put into practice with my little one, it really gives me great ideas on how to go about discussing books in a more interesting manner, and sets me up with great guidelines for beginning a parent/child book discussion group a couple of years down the road. I look forward to more enlightening works by the Goldstones.
Comment 9 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
As a teacher, this book gave me a fresh perspective. The authors walked their groups through a few main concepts: sntagonist, protagonist, climax, and point of view. They were able to take these basic ideas and turn them into excellent and thoughtful discussions. In a test heavy culture, it is refreshing to see that there is another way to teach reading comprehension
Comment 9 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As a fourth grade teacher I am dismayed by how many students are already disengaged by reading. A wonderful supplement toreadings about literature circles, this book changed the way I ran book clubs. It reminded me of the engaging mystery of quality literature - and the reminding is helping me bring that wonder to my students.

A great inspiration and model for parent-child bookclubs, but also a model for all teachers that I have not found anywhere else.
Comment 8 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Excellent book for starting a kids' book club. We have a book club of 5-10 year olds that was kind of lackluster in the kid-led discussion category. We applied some of the techniques in this book (eg, talking about protagonist/antagonist and approaching the book like a mystery), and the discussion just exploded.

One star deducted because a large proportion of the book is devoted to applying their techniques to specific kids' books, and I would have liked more general information and additional methods for sparking discussion.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
I loved this! I read it all in one go, and learned so much.
The authors describe several sessions of their library book club, talking about the big ideas behind each story. They start with one big idea (protagonist/antagonist) and then add an idea into each chapter, such as point of view, climax, catalyst and so on. There's also a book list at the end.
I'm not from the US, so while I knew many of the books described, I hadn't read all of them, so it was a good introduction to a few new books. Some of them seem very challenging for the age group listed, either emotionally challenging or simply in terms of ideas - I don't have children of that age group as yet but I do know that many of the books listed would be high school (yrs 7-10) over here. Not a criticism, but a point of interest.
I did entirely disagree with their take on The Giver, however - I feel that the society, rather than a knowingly evil secret society, is a society which acts on tradition, unquestioning tradition. And I do believe the old Giver changes, and that you feel that the way he will deal with Jonas' loss and its effect on the community will be different from the way he dealt with his daughter, because of those changes. But it was good to read something that made me really feel challenged!
I bought this book to enrich my discussion of books with my children as they grow older and I can certainly see that this will help do so. I'd also suggest it to teachers, of all ages, and book club leaders too. An enjoyable read.
Comment One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Most Recent Customer Reviews

Set up an Amazon Giveaway

Deconstructing Penguins: Parents, Kids, and the Bond of Reading
Amazon Giveaway allows you to run promotional giveaways in order to create buzz, reward your audience, and attract new followers and customers. Learn more about Amazon Giveaway
This item: Deconstructing Penguins: Parents, Kids, and the Bond of Reading