Beautiful illustrations, plus birthday and Christmas together—fun.


When a penguin receives a compass for his birthday, he gets the chance to help a lost Kris Kringle.

It’s midsummer in the Antarctic, Dec. 24, and Noodles’ first birthday. Noodles the penguin enjoys playing in the snow and sliding on the ice with his friends. One pal, Albie (a fish), gives Noodles two perfect gifts: a compass and a trip to Polar Kingdom, the underwater amusement park. They have a wonderful time, though Noodles almost loses his compass on the Octowhirl, and return home to find a “plump tourist” in a sled filled with boxes, accompanied by some strange animals. Introducing himself as Kris Kringle, the tourist explains he’s lost. Noodles generously offers his new compass, and Kris flies north with his reindeer. The next morning, Noodles gets his compass back, nicely wrapped up, with a thank-you note saying, “You saved Christmas!” Though Bennett’s follow-up to Noodles & Albie: A Penguin Journey (2014) is set during Christmas, Albie has no reply when Noodles asks, “What the heck is Christmas anyway?” so parents may need to answer that one for themselves. The enchanting prospect of a birthday, an undersea amusement park, and helping Santa has great appeal, even when Noodles must (temporarily) give away his compass. Reardon’s soft pastel illustrations are charming, capturing the playful, dynamic spirit of the characters. Some details strike a wrong note, though, as when penguins are shown living in igloos, an invention of the Arctic Inuit.

Beautiful illustrations, plus birthday and Christmas together—fun.

Pub Date: Oct. 19, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-692-78885-1

Page Count: -

Publisher: Penguin Place

Review Posted Online: June 9, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2017

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The seemingly ageless Seeger brings back his renowned giant for another go in a tuneful tale that, like the art, is a bit sketchy, but chockful of worthy messages. Faced with yearly floods and droughts since they’ve cut down all their trees, the townsfolk decide to build a dam—but the project is stymied by a boulder that is too huge to move. Call on Abiyoyo, suggests the granddaughter of the man with the magic wand, then just “Zoop Zoop” him away again. But the rock that Abiyoyo obligingly flings aside smashes the wand. How to avoid Abiyoyo’s destruction now? Sing the monster to sleep, then make it a peaceful, tree-planting member of the community, of course. Seeger sums it up in a postscript: “every community must learn to manage its giants.” Hays, who illustrated the original (1986), creates colorful, if unfinished-looking, scenes featuring a notably multicultural human cast and a towering Cubist fantasy of a giant. The song, based on a Xhosa lullaby, still has that hard-to-resist sing-along potential, and the themes of waging peace, collective action, and the benefits of sound ecological practices are presented in ways that children will both appreciate and enjoy. (Picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-689-83271-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2001

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Like the quiet lap of waves on the sand, the alternating introspections of two Bahamian island children in 1492. Morning Girl and her brother Star Boy are very different: she loves the hush of pre-dawn while he revels in night skies, noise, wind. In many ways they are antagonists, each too young and subjective to understand the other's perspective—in contrast to their mother's appreciation for her brother. In the course of these taut chapters concerning such pivotal events as their mother's losing a child, the arrival of a hurricane, or Star Boy's earning the right to his adult name, they grow closer. In the last, Morning Girl greets— with cordial innocence—a boat full of visitors, unaware that her beautifully balanced and textured life is about to be catalogued as ``very poor in everything,'' her island conquered by Europeans. This paradise is so intensely and believably imagined that the epilogue, quoted from Columbus's diary, sickens with its ominous significance. Subtly, Dorris draws parallels between the timeless chafings of sibs set on changing each other's temperaments and the intrusions of states questing new territory. Saddening, compelling—a novel to be cherished for its compassion and humanity. (Fiction. 8+)

Pub Date: Sept. 14, 1992

ISBN: 1-56282-284-5

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1992

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