From 2008 until 2017, a scientist/author records her experiences in Antarctica as she studies Adélie penguins.
Pennycook starts as a novice researcher in the remote region, having previously worked as a high school science teacher before a grant from the National Science Foundation to expand educational outreach enables her to begin a life-changing adventure. Young readers will follow her journey each year as she becomes used to the rugged camp and her painstaking work observing, tracking, and banding penguins in the Ross Sea. Linking her research endeavors to the annual sighting of one particular penguin, Joey (identified by his numbered band), and, later, his mate, Echo, allows the slow, but steady changes in a penguin’s life cycle to fully unfold. Each annual entry details the story of Adélie penguins’ independence from their parents, growth, evasion of predators, their own breeding and child-rearing habits, their mature life, and the possible effects of climate change. Woven into this picture is the more specific account of Joey, seen some years but not others, which helps generate tension. The photos are plentiful and generally clear. The focus is on the animals and not the human scientists, a missed opportunity to further engage kids with STEM. Pennycook herself appears white.
An intensive look at one breed of penguins and a glimpse of the scientists who study them under difficult conditions. (glossary, bibliography) (Nonfiction. 8-11)