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From the Little Animal Friends series

by Julie Abery ; illustrated by Suzie Mason

Pub Date: March 2nd, 2021
ISBN: 978-1-68152-741-3
Publisher: Amicus Ink

When Little Penguin waddles and slips, Mama Penguin provides snuggly safety.

This series follow-up to Abery and Mason’s Little Hippo (2020) features emperor penguins. Little Penguin rides his mama’s feet and eats with her (discreetly but accurately depicted) before waddling out on his own. When he slips and falls, Mama Penguin is there to clean him up and bring him back to the safe huddle of penguins. Abery’s rhythmic, rhyming text follows a repeated pattern, with the active verbs highlighted in purples and blues. There are some great vocabulary words for little readers, like preening and guzzling. The real attention-grabbers, however, are Mason’s illustrations: Fluffy Little Penguin is utterly charming, with an expressive, curious face. The snowy background has depths and layers, with deep blues, light purples, and shadowy grays. All of the images have texture: icy footprints, snow clinging to fluffy feathers. Simultaneously publishing in the Little Animal Friends series, Little Zebra follows a similar plotline. When Little Zebra wanders off, her mother guides her back to the trail. With darling African savanna friends like a gazelle and active verbs, it follows the same formula as Little Penguin. While this may feel a bit repetitive to grown-ups, little ones will enjoy the familiarity of rhythm and the echoing theme of mama keeping baby safe.

Irresistible penguin fluff and predictable, rhythmic text make this a good fit for little readers.

(Board book. 6 mos.-2)