Shunned by the other penguins, the titular penguin’s days are filled with loneliness and his nights with dreams.
“Far away, near the South Pole,” a blue penguin hatches, “not something you see every day.” The other penguins decide that he’s “not like us” and wander away. Blue Penguin is left all alone. His days are “filled with emptiness,” but he dreams at night of being rescued from loneliness by a beautiful white whale. Blue Penguin makes up a song about the whale and sings it every morning, attracting the attention of a little black-and-white penguin. She asks him to teach it to her. The duo plays together, and each day Blue Penguin teaches her more of the song. When Blue Penguin begins teaching Little Penguin a new song, it’s “so magical” that all the other penguins come close and ask to learn it. As they gather round, who should come up but the white whale, summoned by the song; but now that Blue Penguin has friends, he no longer needs rescue. Though children may struggle to understand its metaphor, at its most basic level, the message of Horácek’s timeless story of friendship and community is clear. Its elliptical telling suits the mixed-media illustrations, which emphasize Blue Penguin’s loneliness and isolation with broad swathes of highly textured whites and introduce color as much as the Antarctic landscape allows as friendship develops.
Sweet. (Picture book. 3-5)