Penguin and Little Blue


Most of us agree — penguins included — that there is no place like home. Also no business like show business.

For Penguin and Little Blue, home is Antarctica and far, far away. They are both missing all one million three hundred twenty-eight thousand and forty-eight of their feathered friends.

And show business is hard work. The only homelike treats anywhere in their Kansas hotel are an ice machine and a bathtub (much more fun than the pool ...

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Most of us agree — penguins included — that there is no place like home. Also no business like show business.

For Penguin and Little Blue, home is Antarctica and far, far away. They are both missing all one million three hundred twenty-eight thousand and forty-eight of their feathered friends.

And show business is hard work. The only homelike treats anywhere in their Kansas hotel are an ice machine and a bathtub (much more fun than the pool they have to dive, dive, dive into for spectators). After long days signing autographs Little Blue and Penguin dream of enjoying the white ice, blue ice, pancake ice, pencil ice, ice cakes, ice falls, and fast ice of home.

But how oh how can they escape show business and reach Antarctica?

Penguin and his pint-sized partner Little Blue escape their promotional tour for Water World and return to Antarctica to huddle with their penguin buddies.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Filled with fun puns, this penguin tale touts the importance of home and friends. Penguin and his young sidekick, Little Blue, perform daily for packed crowds but Penguin remembers the glories of his former life ("Once he'd been emperor, Antarctica's King of the Ice. Now he flew solo in a tank with four walls at Water World, San Francisco"). The penguins take their show on the road and wind up in Kansas, at the Sunset Inn Hotel. Delightful chaos ensues as they try to re-create the comforts of Antarctica in their hotel room, using air-conditioning, tubfuls of cold water and an ice machine (they order krill and Baked Alaska from room service).Tillotson's (Night Train) full-bleed spreads and spot illustrations vary the pacing and advance the story in varying shades of blue: the artificial pool setting of Water World yields to the purplish-blue of the hotel rooms, and again to the pale blues of Antarctica's ocean and glacier. McDonald (The Sisters Club, reviewed below) subtly interweaves numerous facts into the story: Penguin welcomes Little Blue to his home saying: "All the krill you can eat. Temperature: 128.6 below zero. And this is just the tip of the iceberg!" (and even works in a witty remark in closing, " `There's no place like home,' Penguin said, remembering Kansas"). This satisfying odyssey is sure to entertain. Ages 4-7. (Sept.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
Penguin and his small friend Little Blue leave their post in the San Francisco Water World tank for a 33-city tour. Hotels offer many distractions, but they miss the ice, the cold, and above all the many other penguins. Luckily for them, they spot the S.S. Admiral Byrd. "We've signed our last autograph! We're going home." They are happy when they reach Antarctica where it is not only cold enough, but they can be "warmed by hundreds and thousands of fine-feathered friends." The fantasy has its naturalistic counterpart in the oil on paper paintings depicting the birds and their surroundings, as if they could carry on this way in hotels and sail back home by ship. 2003, A Richard Jackson Book/Atheneum Books for Young Readers, Ages 4 to 8.
— Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2-Penguin and Little Blue perform stunts at a San Francisco water park, miles from Antarctica. They enjoy one another's company, but Penguin misses his many friends, with whom he longs to dive, huddle, and chatter. Their lives change dramatically when a promoter takes their show on the road. They stay in plush hotels all over the country, enjoying the amenities and indulging in room service, until one day Penguin spots a luxury cruise ship bound for his home. He books their passage on the spot, and a week later, the adventure ends with a joyful reunion at the South Pole. Inspired by a "hilarious" press photo of two penguins in a hotel room, McDonald's lighthearted fish-out-of-water tale anthropomorphizes its title characters in some ways, but they remain penguins at heart. Bright, icy blues predominate in Tillotson's oil paintings, which flesh out the comical aspects of the animals' predicament. A cheerful, charming read.-Catherine Threadgill, Charleston County Public Library, SC Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Two showbiz penguins finally find their way home in this subzero heart-warmer. From Kansas to Boston, Las Vegas to Little Rock, it’s the same day after day: dive, dive, dive. Flap, flap, flap. Then sign autographs. Not even hotel ice machines and room service platters of shrimp Creole can break the monotony. Once an emperor with 1,328,048 friends, Penguin now has only Little Blue for company, and two just don’t make a huddle--so at last, in desperation, they break away from the tour to hop aboard an ocean liner for a long trip south. In pictures rich in blues and purples, Tillotson depicts the portly performers as avian celebrities, lonely even though surrounded by admiring human fans. At last, Antarctic shores come into sight, where "before their eyes were hundreds of penguins, thousands of penguins, hundreds of thousands of penguins, all dressed for a party!" "There’s no place like home," sighs Penguin. Agreed. Young readers will flap their flippers at this tongue-in-cheek jaunt. (Picture book. 6-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781416967279
  • Publisher: Aladdin
  • Publication date: 10/16/2007
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 4 - 7 Years
  • Product dimensions: 0.10 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 11.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Megan McDonald

Megan McDonald's many books include Baya, Baya, Lulla-by-a; Insects Are My Life; and the IRA Award-winning Is This a House for Hermit Crab? Once a librarian herself, she is now a noted visitor to libraries, and is also the author of the best-selling Judy Moody books. She lives with her husband in Sebastopol, California.

Katherine Tillotson has illustrated many books for children including It's Picture Day Today, When the Library Light Go Out and Penguin and Little Blue, all written by Megan McDonald. Katherine lives on a hill in San Francisco, California, with her husband and two dogs.

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