Be Your Own Birder

All About Penguins: Discover Life on Land and in the Sea

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  • Author: Dyan deNapoli
  • Publisher: Rockridge Press
  • Publication Date: December 2020
  • Pages: 54

Be Your Own Birder’s Thoughts

Penguins are a feathered favorite for all ages, but how much do you really know about them? While there are plenty of in-depth books covering all the natural history, breeding, dietary, and environmental needs of penguins, few children’s books into as delightful depth as Dyan deNapoli’s All About Penguins.

Rather than a cutesy story about adorable birds with human-like characteristics, All About Penguins is a factual discussion of these unique and charismatic birds, rich with facts, descriptions, and engaging information while still being appropriate for young readers (ages 5-7) in terms of structure, depth, and vocabulary. Despite being a picture book (with spectacular watercolor illustrations by Ray Shuell), there is something in these pages for penguin-lovers of all ages to learn.

From the evolution of penguins to their physiology, behavior, breeding, and more, the full penguin life cycle is covered in succinct but thoughtful text, worded simply and appropriately for young readers without being dumbed down or diluted. Key vocabulary words are printed in bold and defined not only in the text, but also in an expanded glossary at the end of the book. Inset “Did You Know?” boxes add extra trivia to the text, offering even deeper and more interesting insights about penguins of all types. Of special note are the “Penguin Fun Facts” that add a unique note or two about every species and what makes each one unique.

Not only is the text of All About Penguins beautifully written, but it is accompanied by equally beautiful watercolor illustrations. The choice of watercolor is not only visually appealing, but adds a softness perfect for the underwater feel of much of the book’s content. Each illustration is authentic to the birds’ appropriate coloration and field marks, without creating a cartoonish or juvenile feel, yet with a style that will attract and engage young readers while enriching the text.

Several illustrations are especially charming, including the comparative line up of every penguin species in order of height, as well as the different postures and life stages accurately portrayed throughout the book. The southern hemisphere map denoting different penguin species’ ranges is also a lovely addition.

Whether an experienced birder looking for a beautiful introduction to penguins for a young protege, a teacher adding to a classroom library for younger readers, or just a penguin lover adding to the bookshelf, All About Penguins: Discover Life on Land and in the Sea is a beautiful and informative book you won’t want to miss.

Worth reading? Yes – 9.9/10!

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