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EMPEROR OF THE ICE by Nicola Davies Kirkus Star


How a Changing Climate Affects a Penguin Colony

by Nicola Davies ; illustrated by Catherine Rayner

Pub Date: Feb. 14th, 2023
ISBN: 978-1-5362-2839-7
Publisher: Candlewick

Climate change forces emperor penguins to move to new nesting sites.

Scientists observing emperor penguins from satellites in space (an effective way to monitor these inaccessible nesting grounds) have determined that climate change has made the Halley Bay winter sea ice unreliable. The “thousands upon thousands of emperors” that once nested there have moved elsewhere. Davies weaves this disturbing consequence of climate change into a gentle, positive account of a pair of these penguins raising a chick in a hostile environment. Rayner’s stunning, full-bleed illustrations complement the text and show off the Antarctic’s changing colors. In an early spread, we see the colony from afar, tiny figures with long shadows. Later close-ups show courtship, then the father with their egg nestled securely over his feet in his pouch, and, finally, a crowd of penguins with their chicks. But before the hatching, over the long, lonely winter, the father stands isolated in a snowstorm, and his mate swims hundreds of miles to get food to bring back. Happily, the last spread shows even more penguin colonies as the text reassures us that, at least for now, the penguins from Halley Bay have found new homes. Once again, zoologist Davies’ enthusiasm for the natural world and her ability to shed light on it for a young audience are on full display. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A moving story of resilience in a changing world.

(note from biologist Dr. Phil Trathan, information on emperor penguins and climate change) (Informational picture book. 5-9)