In the tradition of P.D. Eastman's classic Are You My Mother? debut picture-book author Kelley and illustrator Werner (Olive the Little Wooly Bugger, 2009) bring to life a lovable baby penguin who is certain her father is missing (rather than the other way around).
When an emperor penguin egg rolls away from her father's feet and hatches, she exclaims "My dad is lost!" and hurries off to find him. Kelley uses direction words for how the penguin chick both looks (left, right, behind, in front) and travels (down, over, along) as the chick encounters a variety of Antarctic creatures. An albatross gives her the clue that her dad is a flightless bird; an orca explains that her dad lives on land; and a wonderfully funny-looking elephant seal, in Werner's best illustration, tells her that her father isn't his size. After the chick mistakes a human scuba diver and photographer for her dad, he turns on her with a clicking camera, and she panics. Hurrying back to the beginning of her journey, she climbs the hill to find her father. Perfect for patient lap readers learning to emphasize location words like above, under, around, and through, this penguin and the animals—all accurately portrayed in their proper habitats, which is frequently done poorly in penguin books—will charm youngsters. Werner's soft lines balance cartoon approachability with animal accuracy perfectly for the age group, and Kelley's gentle telling is sure to require rereads.
A delightful addition to the "are you my" category.