Monday, March 15, 2010

A Penguin Story

Portis, Antoinette. 2009. A PENGUIN STORY. New York: HarperCollins. ISBN 9780061456893 [Suggested Grade Levels K- 2]

Antoinette Portis’ charming picture book follows the adventures of Edna, a penguin searching for color in icy Antarctica. While the other penguins play and fish, Edna wonders if there are colors besides white, black, and blue. One day, she decides to look for “something else.” During her travels, Edna definitely discovers something else when she stumbles across some orange-wearing scientists. Excited, she brings the other penguins to meet her new friends.

In the beginning of the book, Portis’ simple text balances the crisp white, black, and blue pages. When Edna bumps into the orange tent, not only do the illustrations brighten, but the action speeds towards the conclusion. The injection of orange into the stark environment lends excitement to the story. The last page ends on an optimistic note, with Edna wearing an orange glove as a hat and staring off into the distance, wondering what else is out there to discover. The observant reader will notice a small green ship approaching. Perhaps a sequel?

Penguin books are popular and this one will be a favorite with younger readers. Not only can adults present this book when studying penguins and their environment, but it could also lead to a discussion about the impact of color in illustrations. Children could create their own penguin art projects and experiment with color.

Other picture books by Antoinette Portis:
NOT A BOX. ISBN 9780061123221
NOT A STICK. ISBN 9780061123252

By Kimberly C. Kinnaird

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