Another adventure starring Yoon’s small penguin with the big orange scarf (Penguin and Pumpkin, 2014, etc.).
Penguin wants to be the first penguin to set foot on the otherwise penguinless North Pole. Slinging on his backpack, he heads north. On the way, he passes several friends making things that gain greater significance later in the book: a large colorful quilt, a big basket, and a very long rope. He bypasses them all, intent on his quest. When he finally gets to the North Pole, he finds there are no other penguins, only a cute polar bear cub with whom he shares some adventures riding on a whale, building ice forts, and exploring the Arctic Sea. The purpose of the earlier activities of his penguin friends becomes apparent when they swoop down in a stylish hot air balloon and carry him back to their Antarctic home. Yoon’s bold, black-outlined, vividly colored illustrations compensate somewhat for the weak, unimaginative storyline. This lack of depth is due in part to the fact that some key details can only be understood with knowledge of previous books in the series. Readers who don’t know that Penguin is an avid knitter or that he made friends with a pine cone and a crab in previous outings will be mystified by these references, since their appearances in this story do not support the plot.
Slight and self-referential, this is not one of Penguin’s more memorable adventures. (Picture book. 3-6)