Little Penguin: The Emperor of Antarctica

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The life journey of a little emperor penguin
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The life journey of a little emperor penguin
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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Heidi Hauser Green
This warm-hearted story of animals in the chilly south starts at the moment the "Little Emperor of Antarctica" emerges from his egg. Wobbly, cold and hungry, he finds himself sitting on his father's feet. The father drips "crop milk" into the little one's mouth, and then tucks the baby under the flap of his stomach. This fills his tummy and keeps him warm for a little while. Soon, his mother returns from her three-month venture in the sea. She feeds the baby from the fish and other seafood in her belly. It's dad's turn to head to the sea for food. The penguins take turns caring for Little Penguin as he grows. He gains independence, until at about five months of age he is ready to make his own journey to the sea. He swims, pursues fish and krill, faces off with a leopard seal—and proves himself a capable young penguin. In four years, it will be his turn to care for an egg. An author's note provides additional information about emperor penguins and their life cycle. Like many other penguin-themed books, this one follows a penguin from egg to adulthood. In that way, this book is not particularly unique. But London's flowing text and Olson's watercolor illustrations draw the reader in to this young bird's story. Those who are penguin-crazy and those who are penguin-curious will enjoy this book. A good choice for sharing in the elementary classroom, this story is also brief enough to be a hit with the preschool set. Reviewer: Heidi Hauser Green
Kirkus Reviews

Children are introduced to emperor penguins, the largest of the penguin species, as readers follow a single emperor chick from his hatching to his first swim in the sea at five months of age.

As Little Emperor grows, readers learn how these birds survive the harsh cold of the Antarctic, how they communicate, how and what the chicks are fed and about the predator that Little Emperor faces when he finally reaches the sea. Children will also pick up a few facts about Antarctica. Keeping the focus on one penguin chick brings readers into his story and lends relevance to the facts that are presented in the text. But in so doing, readers miss out on one of the most fascinating aspects of emperor penguin parenthood—the amazing stamina and clever survival tactics of the males as they incubate the eggs through the freezing Antarctic winter. Blues, whites and purples dominate Olson's artwork until the sun returns to the Antarctic, then rosy oranges and yellows take over. Rendered in pencils, watercolors and digital media, the penguins are softly realistic, and Olson keeps the focus on the family trio, blurring the rest of the penguins into the background.

Not the most factual or fascinating book on the penguin shelf, still this offers a chick's point of view, which may appeal to younger audiences.(Picture book. 4-8)

School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2—Simple text and pleasant illustrations in pencil, watercolor, and digital media recount the months in the life of an emperor penguin from spring hatching to his midsummer dive into the sea. As in the many books for young readers about this popular animal, this one emphasizes the father's role in keeping the egg and then the chick warm under the belly flap just above his feet. The chick is fed the milky mix from his father's gullet, and the youngster and his hungry parent soon welcome the mother penguin returning from her feeding months at sea. The adults trade feeding and child care, protecting their offspring from the elements while he grows, plays with other young penguins, and begins to lose his baby down. "At five months old Little Emperor and his clan waddled down to the sea. They hopped…and leaped…and tobogganed…WHOOSH! until they reached the ocean." The text and competent paintings convey a realistic sense of the Antarctic world and the birds' life cycle, although both are at times a bit cute. A straightforward author's note briefly explains aspects of the emperor penguin's physiology and life experiences. Some adults will enjoy the cozy tone for reading aloud, and libraries that are not amply stocked on this appealing subject will find this a useful and attractive introduction.—Margaret Bush, Simmons College, Boston
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780761459545
  • Publisher: Amazon Childrens Publishing
  • Publication date: 10/1/2011
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 635,725
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 11.10 (w) x 8.70 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 2 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 5, 2012



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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 19, 2011

    A good book

    I never read it but it really looks cool and the price is enpensive so i think its a really good book :)

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