Friday, June 25, 2010

A Penguin Story by Antoinette Portis

A Penguin Story by Antoinette Portis

Rating: 5 curious stars

It's nearly 100 degrees out for the fourth or fifth day in a row (I've lost becoming a puddle) so I thought I'd write about a book with snow in it to make myself feel cooler.

We received this as a gift last Christmas; both Lorelei and Ben love it.  Ben especially, as he digs penguins.  What kid doesn't go through a penguin phase?  We are already excited to see them at a zoo whenever we brave the traffic and crowds this summer to see the National Zoo.

Edna the Penguin is tired of the three colors she always sees: black, white, and blue.  Every day, every night, the same colors.  She believes--she has this deep faith in herself--that there is Something Else.  She's not sure what, but she just knows with her little penguin heart that there is Something Else, some other color out there to see.  So she sets off, hiking night and day, with little food to sustain her, till...


She finds Something Orange!  It's a tent, and a flag, and a glove, and a jacket, and a coat...tons of orange stuff at a scientists' camp near the penguin camp.  She is so excited that she turns around, runs home, grabs all her friends, and together they trudge back to the camp to see the Something Else.

Kinda makes me think of Plato's Allegory of the Cave...ah, Philosophy 101 back at Seattle U...

The scientists and the penguins make friends, and one guy gives the penguins an orange glove with which to return home so they will always have another color in their black, white, and blue lives. 

The story ends with Edna thinking, "There must be Something Else..." and you see a green ship in the background.

This is a really sweet book, and one kids get excited about.  The illustrations are simple, wonderful, clear-cut pictures that, like I said, Ben especially loves.  I know that Antoinette Hartis is best know for her Not a Box book, which we appreciate, but this one is better for us during this phase of Lorelei and Ben's childhood. 

We'll be reading it all summer long.

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