Penguins

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Judy Crowder
Featured in cartoons, animated features (movies) or documentaries, penguins are endlessly fascinating! We think penguins are only black and white, yet this book points out that many have colored crests or plumage. We know all have webbed feet, but those webbed feet can be yellow, orange or black and are equipped with large claws. We know they cannot fly, yet their wings resemble those of flying birds. We laugh at penguins' ungainly walk on land, but these birds are bullet-shaped swimmers and divers, and they must be able to leap onto land from the sea. Part of Mason Crests' "100 Things You Should Know About" series, this book, with its lively format, colorful illustrations and short paragraphs of simple text, features a satisfying overview of the commonest penguin species. From the smallest—little penguins—to the largest—emperor penguins—these flightless birds all live south of the equator. While many penguin species live in Antarctica, or South Pole, and must battle harsh, frigid conditions, some live in warmer places: South America, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand, where they spend a lot of time in the water keeping cool. The book includes challenges every kind of penguin faces, as well as physical features that help them meet those challenges. The author does a particularly good job of telling about penguins' feathers, and how well designed they can be for holding in warmth. Feeding/hunting behavior, mating rituals, how they avoid predators, raising their young and group living are just some of the "100 things." Along the way are quizzes, classroom activities, cartoons, plus "I Don't Believe It!" boxes that hold special factoids. For instance, macaroni penguins were named after eighteenth century British men known as macaronis because they dressed up in fancy clothes. This is the kind of book that lends itself well to a quick "dive" to glean a fact or two, or to longer study. It includes an index. Reviewer: Judy Crowder
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