Penguin Book Reviews

We spent February learning about penguins and boy were they a hit!  I checked out a number of books, these are our favorites…

Antarctic Antics: A Book of Penguin Poems
by Judy Sierra

This is the first poetry book that all the kids loved!  I had intended on using it to read a poem during circle time some mornings, but we ended up reading it all the way through in one sitting, several times. The poems cover the lifespan of a penguin from inside an egg, hatching, eating, swimming, and even mating. The kids’ favorite was ‘Regurgitate,’ while my favorite was about how the penguin chicks find their mothers by listening for her special call.

Turtle’s Penguin Day
by Valeri Gorbachev

After Little Turtle hears a bedtime story about penguins, he dreams that he IS a penguin, diving, swimming and splashing with the colony. The next morning he decides to be a penguin, donning his red slippers and his grandpa’s black jacket. At school he gets his teacher and classmates excited about penguins, teaching them about penguin habits. Throughout the school day they do penguin activities, at recess, in music class, even dreaming they were penguins during nap time. Little Turtle continues to be a penguin until bedtime, when Father Turtle pulls out a new book about a monkey who lives in the jungle….

Preschoolers LOVE pretend play and my kids are no exception. My 4-year-old especially identified with the turtle’s desire to act out the book. Fostering imaginative play in young children is very important to their development, so books like these are a real treasure. After reading, we imitated Little Turtle, pretending to do the same penguin activities as him. Pretending to be a turtle, who is pretending to be a penguin, was great fun. We definitely recommend this book!


A Penguin Story
by Antionette Portis

An adventurous penguin is tired of seeing black, white, and blue so he sets off in search of a new color, certain there’s more out there. He leads his colony to a research camp, filled with the color orange. Thrilled to have added color to his world, he’s still certain there’s more out there…

The Emperor’s Egg
by Martin Jenkins

Emperor penguins are perhaps the most well-known species of penguin and we found several books about them. This was my favorite because it was adaptable for our age range (1-5). I read the main text for all the kids, and added in the extra scientific facts when reading with just the big kids. This book details the very beginning of a chick’s life, as an egg cared for by the father, to a young hatchling and then mom’s return.

Penguins: From Emperors to Macaronis by Erin Pembrey Swan

I really liked the layout of this book. The penguins are grouped by continent, each species has a 2 page spread with a full-color photo, size, habitat, colony size, sounds they make, etc. The beginning of the book explains the different animal kingdoms and then breaks down the categories until you get to just penguins. I learned some interesting facts, like the macaroni penguin did not get its name from pasta and the Fairy penguin is also called Little or Blue. The book closes with some environmental issues: how humans and penguins affect each other, how national parks can help preserve habitats and how organizations volunteer to clean up the animals after oil spills. My only complaint about this book was it only featured 14 of the 17 species, I really wish they had all been included. We used this book to make a penguin mural, showcasing the different heights of the penguins and the continents on which they live.

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