In a bit of elemental relationship-modeling, two active young penguins play together until a short-lived huff brings a temporary halt to the fun.
Echoing the pattern in Mirra Ginsburg’s Chick and the Duckling (1972), where Fluff leads (“ ‘I’m sliding down!’ said Fluff”), Billy follows (“ ‘I’m sliding down!’ said Billy”). The pattern breaks when Billy throws a snowball that clobbers Fluff and results in a silent, back-to-back standoff. Being different in size and coloration, the two playmates are easy to tell apart, but Killen (Not Me!, 2010) leaves both their gender and their relationship (they could be either sibs or friends from different families) indeterminate. The two chicks cavort against Antarctic-white and icy blue backgrounds, her watercolors deliciously liquid in the swimming and splashing scenes. Spotting a tear in Billy’s eye, the larger Fluff finally plays peacemaker with a tummy tickle that dissolves into an entire closing spread of big HA HAs and HEE HEEs.
A little forced at the end, but young children will recognize the issue and require no encouragement to chime in with Billy’s lines. (Picture book. 3-6)