Meg McKinlay, illustrated by Mark Jackson, and published by Walker Books (2010, paperback edition 2011). I think it will produce giggles and guffaws from both children and adults.
The penguins are coming and there is great excitement at the zoo. But what’s a penguin? The animals don’t quite know what to expect - but they all have an opinion, each more outlandish than the last. When the truth about penguins is finally revealed, everyone is in for a surprise!I love the humour of the contemporary animal voices in this charming children's picture book, and kids will too. From a wise old owl: "Pizza! They stop for pizza! Olives, pepperoni, double cheese. I read it in a book. They're all about the cheese, penguins." And then from the pelican: "Lazy little critters, they are. I tried teaching some to swim once, you know. They were all - It's too cold! Its too deep! It's too wet!"
Fortunately, the sensible zookeeper sets the other animals straight - or does he? Stand by for a delightful twist at the end.
I love Meg McKinlay's books. Read my review of Duck for a Day and No Bears. It's great the way McKinlay provides fun for the read alouder as well as the audience in The Truth About Penguins. I can still hear my internal chooky voice clucking "The penguins are coming!" in true "The British are coming!" style.
Jackson's illustrations are quirky and charming. Children will love working out which animal is speaking, and what we can tell about his character from the words and pictures. My favourite illustration is the page about the elephant - whose mother was a penguin, and whose imagined memory of himself as a baby is so cute. I like the way a range of animals are included in the story, making it an ideal resource for children learning about animals, or other countries.
Walker have added value to this delightful children's picture book by providing pdf notes and classroom ideas at their website. With excellent discussion points and activity suggestions to use with the book, these are a boon not just to teachers and librarians, but to homeschooling and literature-loving parents everywhere.
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