Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Review - Little Penguins

Little Penguins

by Cynthia Rylant
illustrated by Christian Robinson
Date: 2016
Publisher: Schwartz & Wade
Reading level: C
Book type: picture book
Pages: 40
Format: e-book
Source: library

Newbery Medal–winning author Cynthia Rylant and Caldecott Honor-winning illustrator Christian Robinson pair up to tell this wintry story about five little penguins enjoying a snowy day.

Snowflakes? Many snowflakes. Winter is coming. So begins this ever-so-simple story. As the snow starts to fall, the excited penguins pull out scarves, mittens, heavy socks, and boots, and Mama helps them bundle up. But when it’s time to go out, one timid penguin decides to stay home. Filled with waddling baby penguins, playful text, and delightful illustrations, this book feels like a young picture-book classic in the making.

(synopsis from Goodreads)

I swear I don't actually dislike penguins. But I do dislike penguin books that conflate penguins with the Arctic region.

This is basically just a story about children (shown as extremely anthropomorphized penguins here) who experience a fun, snowy day. The illustrations left me cold (no pun intended) and I could not get past the penguins living in igloos. Seriously? Are we going to start our preschoolers off with confusion by showing an Antarctic bird living in a dwelling that's found in the Arctic?

The text is super simple and the illustrations colourful, and I can see little kids who don't know any better liking the book. But I wouldn't recommend it, simply because I don't think it's okay to appropriate Arctic culture to tell an Antarctic story. (Your mileage may vary, of course.) For better books about penguins, try Penguin and the Cupcake by Ashley Spires, Harriet Gets Carried Away by Jessie Sima, and Polar Opposites by Erik Brooks.

Premise: 2/5
Meter: n/a
Writing: 3/5
Illustrations: 2/5
Originality: 2/5

Enjoyment: 2/5

Overall: 2.17 out of 5

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