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by Melissa Guion & illustrated by Melissa Guion

Pub Date: Dec. 6th, 2012
ISBN: 978-0-399-25535-9
Publisher: Philomel

A solitary penguin wishes for companionship and gets a little more than she bargained for.

Alone on a patch of ice, a penguin “enjoy[s] the peace and quiet,” but then loneliness sets in. In a lucky twist of fate, a top hat akin to one a magician might wear drifts by, “[a]nd from that hat popped a little penguin!” But then, evoking the folkloric magic porridge pot, the hat ends up holding a seemingly endless succession of little penguins. “Now the penguin wasn’t lonely anymore,” the text reports, and scenes of baby penguins frolicking about, making a snowman, playing with an array of rainbow-colored balls and a colorful string of scarves ensue. A crowded, wordless double-page spread shows the now “very, very busy” penguin trying to keep up with her crèche, with the page turn showing her collapsed on her belly, “[a]nd more than a bit tired.” She decides that she needs something: “[j]ust a minute to herself.” This line ends up feeling like a bit of heavy-handed validation aimed at weary parents, with the ultimate, reassuring message being that everyone needs alone time but that “being together… / is a lot more fun!” Despite this tonal shift, watercolor illustrations delight in the penguins’ sheer cuteness, staying just this side of twee.

A sweet picture-book treatment of penguins and parenting.

(Picture book. 3-5)