________________ CM . . . . Volume VIII Number 10 . . . . January 18, 2002






Baby Penguin. (Nature Babies).

Aubrey Lang. Photography by Wayne Lynch.
Toronto, ON: Fitzhenry & Whiteside, 2001.
32 pp., cloth, $15.95.
ISBN 1-55041-675-8.

Subject Heading:
Penguins-Infancy-Juvenile literature.

Kindergarten-grade 2 / Ages 5-7.

Review by Lisa Sykes.

** /4


imageThe penguin chick hasn't seen his parents for seven days now, and he is getting very hungry. The youngster sees an adult by the water and, thinking he's found his mother, begs her for food. But the stranger slaps him with a stiff flipper and gives him a painful peck.

The chick does not know it yet, but his parents will never come back. It's time for the young penguin to live on his own.

imageBaby Penguin and The Adventures of Baby Bear are the latest non-fiction titles produced by husband/wife, writer/photographer team, Aubrey Lang and Wayne Lynch. Baby Penguin chronicles the growth of a young king penguin living in a large penguin colony on an island in Antarctica. The book contains many facts regarding the chick's appearance, diet, conditions in the colony, behaviour and maturation. Each page of the text is accompanied by one or more photographs and the book concludes with a "Did You Know?" information page.

     The introduction to Baby Penguin is well-written as it sets the scene of the penguin colony and arouses the reader's curiosity. The text contains interesting facts, such as information concerning the whistle a penguin chick makes to allow its parents to identify it on the noisy beach. The written information is accompanied by a series of coloured photographs of the penguin colony. The full-page photos opposite the text are effective and informative. The smaller photos beside the text (approx. 4cm X 6cm) are less so. Their small size does not contribute to large group sharing, and they are somewhat distracting. While it is commendable that the facts are presented in a straightforward style, the text is very blunt for a Kindergarten to grade 2 audience (see above quote). The "Did You Know?" page is a nice bonus and includes some unusual facts about diet, molting and fledging (the growing of adult feathers). With the emphasis on research and managing ideas and information in today's curriculum, teacher-librarians should note that Baby Penguin does not have an index, glossary or table of contents. For this reason, the book would be best suited to small group or individual reading.

     In summary, Baby Penguin contains several outstanding photographs, but the book has some weaknesses where text is concerned.

Recommended with reservations.

Lisa Sykes has worked as an early years teacher and teacher-librarian in Winnipeg MB. She is currently at home enjoying her time with her two young children.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364