Mama Penguin loves her babies, but keeping up with all of their activities has her plain worn out.
Playing the part of a contemporary soccer mom, Mama Penguin is “very busy taking care of everybody.” Subsequent pages reveal swimming, sliding and waddling lessons, which are then followed by preening practice and fishing. By the time the last activity arrives, a picture of a beleaguered-looking Mama seems to contradict the accompanying text: “And everyone loved Saturday squawking!” In fact, Mama takes a much-needed nap in a spread depicting her prostrate on the ground with one eye closed and a single baby penguin standing watchfully nearby. The text then assures readers that Mama, now refreshed, is very proud of her babies, and she muses about how one day they’ll be able to do all the things they’re learning as well as she can. “Maybe even better,” one of the babies pipes up; the sweetness of the accompanying picture mitigates the line’s snarky tone. At this point, however, the story loses its steam as Mama wonders what will become of her once her offspring are independent, and the baby penguins reassure her that she will simply “be our Mama!” Despite the undeniable focus on the adult in the story, the uncluttered, whimsical watercolors are inviting to child readers throughout.
A sweet, if uneven, penguin picture book. (Picture book. 3-5)