Wednesday, January 03, 2007


365 PENGUINS by Jean-Luc Fromental and Joelle Jolivet (Abrams)

A mysterious package arrives on New Year's Day, containing one penguin. The next day, a second penguin is delivered. The third day brings yet another black-and-white buddy, but this trend can't continue, can it? With the accumulation of Antarctic animals comes a series of problems to be solved, some mathematical (three digit addition, the budgeting of fish and the determination of proper amounts...if each penguin eats 2.5 pounds of fish a day, how many pounds will we need after the first three months of the year?) some logistical (how shall the penguins be organized? How shall they be cared for in the summer months? What to do about that penguin smell?) and some emotional (how does one share a shower with hundreds of penguins? "Once you reach the point of no return, one penguin more or more penguin less each day doesn't make much of a difference anymore. You live penguin. You think penguin. You dream penguin. You become penguin.") By the time we are truly and wholly feeling this family's penguin pain, though, the sender is revealed, along with his surprising and provocative plan to help wildlife through global warming. All's well, it seems, until the next New Year's Day when another package is left at the fanily doorstep. What could be inside this time?

This year is off on the right foot, or flipper, as the case may be, with this absolutely majestic and marvelous oversized delight. A snazzy palette of black, white, blue and orange makes this book extra cool, and overall is visually daring and outrageously fun; children will love looking for "Chilly Willy" with his icy-blue feet in the midst of the penguin posse pictures. This book has irresistable commercial appeal (kudos to the publisher on some outstanding packaging), but it is also an educator's dream, with huge illustrations to hold up and amaze a whole class, and plenty of opportunities for problem solving and discussion on many levels. Not since Bernard Waber's Lyle the Crocodile showed up splish-splashing in the bathtub at the THE HOUSE ON EAST 88TH STREET has a unplanned and unlikely pet been more welcomed in a family...or on the shelves of children's literature. You'll enjoy this title every single one of the 365 days of 2007! (All ages)

Also of interest:
The eyepopping nonfiction tour de force, ZOO OLOGY (Roaring Brook) is another remarkable offering by artist Joelle Jolivet. At 18 inches tall, this oversized illustrated field guide is big enough to fit an entire menagerie that would have been impressed even Noah. Handsome woodcut specimens are fixed and posed upon each double-page spread, and classified in unexpected, thoughtful ways: in the trees, underground, on the seabed, at night, spots and stripes, black and white, on and on! A little chameleon is hiding in each of the pictures, to help children who are overwhelmed by the grandeur of the book to focus in the face of such variety. This super safari in a book will be cherished, astounding generations of children with the variety of all of the creatures that walk the earth. A must for future biologists and environmentalists, and present animal lovers. (All ages)

Links are provided for informational use. Don't forget to support your local bookseller.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I LOVE 365 penguins! So much to love about it. The size is certainly one of the things! I don't know Zoo ology but will certainly find it. Sounds great. Thanks for sharing.


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