Penguin

Penguin

by Stephen Martin
     
 

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From the Penguin Books logo to The March of the Penguins, a certain tuxedo-adorned member of the animal kingdom has long captured our hearts and imaginations. Stephen Martin regales us here with the cultural and natural history of the penguin, revealing many fascinating and little-known facts about this beloved bird.
Over twenty species of penguins can be

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Overview

From the Penguin Books logo to The March of the Penguins, a certain tuxedo-adorned member of the animal kingdom has long captured our hearts and imaginations. Stephen Martin regales us here with the cultural and natural history of the penguin, revealing many fascinating and little-known facts about this beloved bird.
Over twenty species of penguins can be found in the Galápagos Islands and New Zealand as well as in Antarctica, and they range from the Little Bee Penguin at two pounds to the imposing Emperor Penguin, which can weigh in at over seventy-five pounds. Martin details the biological facts and natural history of each species, including their evolution, habitats, diet, and behavior, but he also explores the role of penguins in popular culture and thought—from children’s literature such as Mr. Popper’s Penguins, to Batman’s nemesis, the Penguin, to films and television shows including Happy Feet and Pingu. In addition, over one hundred images of penguins enrich Martin’s engaging text.

            A captivating natural and cultural history, Penguin will be an essential addition to the bookshelves of penguin fans everywhere.
 

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Starred Review.

More than any other bird, penguins appear to behave anthropomorphically, waddling about on two legs and continuously chattering, "like so many children in white aprons" (according to one 18th century naturalist). Martin, an Australian historian of the Antarctic, guides readers through the history of human-penguin history, describing their discovery by people, human-penguin interactions, and the flightless bird's widespread cultural cachet. Martin covers some three centuries, revealing how indigenous inhabitants of the southern hemisphere used penguins as a resource (the Maori may have used penguins for food), how European voyages of discovery began the systematic exploitation of penguins (Magellan and Vasco de Gama's crews used the birds for target practice), and how the documentary work of naturalists led to the first conservation efforts. Martin also assesses their infiltration of popular culture; by the end of the 19th century, penguins featured prominently in stories, especially morality lessons, a tradition that continues most notably in such films such as March of the Penguins, Surf's Up, and Happy Feet. Featuring essential natural history, a list of penguin species, ample notes, a useful index, and elegant, readable text, Martin's overview is not just informative, but manages to match its subject in charm.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781861893765
Publisher:
Reaktion Books, Limited
Publication date:
11/15/2009
Series:
Reaktion Books - Animal Series
Pages:
224
Product dimensions:
5.34(w) x 7.48(h) x 0.57(d)

Related Subjects

Meet the Author

Stephen Martin is currently a senior project officer at the State Library of New South Wales. He is also the author of A History of Antarctica and The Whales’ Journey: A Year in the Life of a Humpback Whale and a Century in the History of Whaling.
 

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