An extended hip-hip-hooray in book form.
The opening double-page spread shows a bewildered, anthropomorphic penguin walking into a room bedecked with streamers and balloons as confetti flies about. A bevy of animals on the facing page leaps up with a cheer. “Yippee” reads a banner held in an owl’s beak, while a pair of penguins (the protagonist’s family?), a polar bear, a fox, and a deer join in the celebration. The “you” in the title and in text throughout the book clearly addresses this protagonist penguin, but it encompasses the reader, too: “On this special occasion, / we’re just so filled with pride, / and we’re thrilled, and we’re grateful, / to be on your side!” Bouncy, rhyming text and playful, expressive, digitally enhanced multimedia illustrations make plain the joy the group feels, but the celebrated event remains ambiguous. Furthermore, the order of the illustrations doesn’t really matter, since neither words nor pictures provide a narrative for the reader to latch onto. Although a presumed flashback begins with the penguin’s hatching and both text and illustrations periodically depict the penguin’s growth, the vignettes depicted in between are cute but feel arbitrary. The result is a book that feels more like an expanded greeting card than it does a picture book.
A good pick for kindergarten and preschool graduation gifts and other such early-childhood events. (Picture book. 2-5)