Like his Dem Bonesand Dinosaur Bones, Barner's straightforward primer about all things penguin is anything but pedagogical. In fact, the rhyming verse resembles more of a lyrical lesson ("Cold penguins huddle close with penguin heat to share./ Daddies warm fragile eggs with tender, special care"). For those more familiar with Arctic penguins, Barner sets the record straight: that the black-and-white birds can live in both cool and warm climes. He divides his opening spread into a cool blue backdrop on the left and a warm golden setting on the right (with matching accents on the yellow-eyed penguin of New Zealand). Horizontal spreads make the most of icy landscapes and coral reefs, with collage elements introducing brightly colored starfish, and gray watercolor wash underscoring the Arctic chill. Splashy images of penguins at work and play range from those eluding predator seals to a sleepy penguin floating with its parent. At story's end, a "Penguin Puzzler" reveals answers to some of the more confounding questions ("Why do penguins look the way they do?"), while a "Penguin Parade" identifies their many types and habitats. Whether or not readers are penguin aficionados to begin with, they will likely end up knowing more than when they started. Ages 3-7. (Feb.)Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
School Library Journal
Colorful collages depict plump penguins performing a plethora of penguiny pastimes-tobogganing into the ocean, cuddling for warmth, honking to attract a mate. Barner's simple rhyming text presents a variety of the birds-those that delight in Antarctic cold and others that bask in Galapagos sunshine, some that lay eggs in burrows, and others that nestle their eggs on the tops of their leathery feet. Some facts fill the facing pages (such as "What do penguins eat?" accompanied by cut-outs of squid, fish, and krill), and a final spread proffers a parade of all 17 species, including data on global location, size, and weight. This effervescent effort will be just the thing for youngsters not yet ready for Gail Gibbons's informative Penguins! (Holiday House) or the more sophisticated rhymes of Judy Sierra's Antarctic Antics: A Book of Penguin Poems (Harcourt, both 1998).
Patricia ManningCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.