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by Erik Brooks & illustrated by Erik Brooks

Age Range: 3 - 7

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2010
ISBN: 978-0-7614-5685-8
Publisher: Marshall Cavendish

Penpals Alex Polar Bear and Zina Penguin are polar opposites, living on opposite sides of the world. And while they enjoy writing each other letters, they are unalike in every other way. Shaggy Alex lives in the Arctic, sleeps in, is loud and messy and favors bright clothes. The Antarctic-dwelling Zina likes sweet foods, subdued clothing and slow travel. While Brooks lists their opposites, he also moves readers forward toward an annual meeting of the penpals in the Galápagos Islands. Alex packs his Hawaiian shirts and pushes his suitcase toward the plane. Zina packs her fancy hat and pulls her luggage toward a cruise ship. The pencil, charcoal and watercolor illustrations give observant readers further clues about each friends’ preferences. The two are endearing, individual characters, their personalities indicated clearly and agreeably. The inclusion of several views of the world (planet, globe, map) gives readers a strong foundation in polar geography.  While the anthropomorphized pair has nothing in common with their real counterparts apart from location, the light story makes this a refreshing change from traditional opposite books. (Picture book. 3-7)