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STRAWBERRY MOON by Karen English

STRAWBERRY MOON

By Karen English

Age Range: 5 - 9

Pub Date: Oct. 11th, 2001
ISBN: 0-374-47122-3
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Pity the poor papa penguin as he perseveres in protecting his precious progeny. He has to care for the emperor penguin egg by himself through two months of windy winter weather (“Screech, whoooo!”) while the mother penguin is off searching for food. Guiberson (Tales of the Haunted Deep, 2000, etc.) has crafted a nonfiction narrative that imparts general information about the birth cycle of emperor penguins in combination with the more engaging story of a specific mother and father penguin caring for their own egg and the resulting chick. This gives more dramatic impact to the text, but is a little confusing at times with intertwined discussions of both the larger penguin group and references to the father and mother. Interesting factoids and interspersed parenthetical references to penguin sounds or movements (“Waddle, waddle.”) add extra punch to the text. Paley’s (Little White Duck, 2000, etc.) stellar watercolor collage illustrations in vibrant double-page spreads steal the show, with midnight blue skies, downy gray penguin chicks, and graphically striking adult penguins. Although The Emperor’s Egg, by Martin Jenkins (1999), covers similar territory, school and public libraries will find this title useful for elementary school science reports and nature lovers will love the pictures. (Picture book/nonfiction. 5-9)