Two penguin siblings, Slipper and Flipper, have grown up idolizing their famous forebear, helmet-wearing Spanish explorer Don Pingüino, and want to emulate him.
They set off to follow in his footsteps by exploring the Western Hemisphere, from Antarctica to Mexico. Despite the fact that neither the tango nor modern soccer had been invented by the time of the Age of Exploration, the residents of Buenos Aires remember Don Pingüino giving them the “dance of love,” and the Brazilians remember him playing soccer. This Methuselah of an explorer seems to gallivant just ahead of his tuxedoed descendants throughout their journey north. When Papa finally catches up, they happily proceed to take a bus tour of the continental United States, the titular “Land of the Golden Sun” and evidently their new home. Reagan’s Photoshopped pen-and-ink line art collaged into scenic photos is eye-catching and colorful. The ice floes are particularly captivating. Readers will enjoy the many gatefolds while looking for poor frantic Papa. Unfortunately, the meandering story detracts from the truly wonderful illustrations. In fact, the storyline is so inconsequential that it could have been wholly carried by the conversation bubbles, and the premise is hugely flawed. The conquistadores and the native peoples of the Americas didn’t exactly hit it off, yet these “native” penguins don’t seem to have a problem with the fact that their “ancestor” pillaged and conquered.
Delightful art can’t save this problematic exploration. (Picture book. 5-8)