A cautionary tale for young readers about the aftermath of oil spills near penguin habitats.
Penguins frolic and feed in the ocean, showing off their black-and-white bodies and orange feet and beaks. They are busy doing what it is that penguins do: “huddling, cuddling, waddling” and “diving deep.” Then a tanker passes by and leaves “oil pools in inky puddles.” The penguins are in serious trouble until Big Boots with camera in hand appears. A campaign to knit sweaters for the penguins is the result until glove-clad hands show up to remove the sweaters and finally wash off the oil with toothbrushes. Tamura’s well-told tale of ecological disaster and proper penguin rescue is told in rhythmic but not rhyming couplets. Her author’s note references an actual event on Phillip Island, Australia (where visitors can view a penguin walk), and explains how knitted garments are actually harmful for penguins. Rieley’s digitized pencil, ink, and handmade textures are appealing. His palette of blues and whites for the ocean, sky, and ice provides a perfect setting, both aerial and eye-level, for the penguins. The knitted sweaters, with close-ups of needles in action, are colorful if inappropriate for the recipients. Note that one of them features the publisher’s penguin logo.
It’s almost too cute to get the message across that people should knit sweaters for toy animals—not for the real critters. (author’s note) (Picture book. 3-6)