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About the Author

Polly Dunbar is a major star in the picture-book firmament. She is the author-illustrator of Dog Blue and Flyaway Katie, and the illustrator of Shoe Baby, written by her mother, Joyce Dunbar. Her best-selling book Penguin has won numerous awards including the Book Trust Early Years Award, the Nestle Silver Children's Book Prize, the Practical Pre-School Award and the Red House Children's Book of the Year Award, and was shortlisted for the Kate Greenaway Medal. Her collection of titles beginning with Hello Tilly have been made into an animated series, Tilly and Friends, currently airing on CBeebies. Polly lives in Beccles, Suffolk. Find Polly online at and on twitter as @PollyDunbar.


Dunbar's (Flyaway Katie) winsome mixed media illustrations carry the day in a story that pulls a few punches on readers. From the striking white cover illustrations of Penguin with the title displayed in textured primary colors, to the blue Sendak-like lion that precipitates the denouement, the illustrations are child-centered, deceptively simple, and satisfying. No matter what Ben does, his new penguin won't respond. The white background focuses attention on the characters, while Dunbar's use of line is particularly effective in showing Ben's mixed emotions. The abrupt resolution of Ben's problem, however, while creative, could be problematic. When a passing Lion swallows the frustrated toddler for noisily shouting, "SAY SOMETHING!" Penguin bites Lion's nose. Ben is instantly burped up, and finally, "Penguin [says] everything." But Penguin's way of "saying everything" is to use pictures; these are contained in a huge speech bubble. Because the book initially seems to present a real boy and his stuffed toy, Lion's appearance seems surprising, as if a phoenix emerged in the middle of a pioneer diary. This change in the construction of the reality of the story may be baffling or intriguing depending on the reader, but nearly everyone will enjoy retracing and comparing the narrator's story told in words with Penguin's story told in pictures. Ages 4-7. (July) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

This is a warm and charming story told without the cloying sentimentality that can mar books for this age group ... Dunbar's characterisation is a treat. * The Bookseller * Polly Dunbar's sympathetic artwork captures the seesaw of Ben's emotions with humour and an almost heartbreaking accuracy. * Child Education PLUS * With simple, rhythmic text, flat colours, crisp shapes on white space and a big blue lion, this heart-warming book conjures - by minimal means - imagination, anger, danger and love, while encouraging small children to remember events, read pictures and laugh. -- Nicolette Jones * The Sunday Times * An animated tale of an unusual friendship, sweetly illustrated, with great comic moments as little Ben tries to entertain an expressionless Penguin and a final outcome that leaves readers with a warm glow * Junior *

PreS-K-A pajama-clad toddler opens his present to find a toy penguin. Much to Ben's chagrin, the bird doesn't say anything, no matter how hard the boy tries to engage it-singing, dancing, even sticking out his tongue in exasperation. It isn't until a blue lion chomps on the child that Penguin jumps into action and rescues his new pal. Facial features on each character, down to even the simplest dots used for eyeballs, show a range of expressions from anger to frustration and, finally, love. The attractive, spare illustrations in mixed media are focused and centered on a white background. The culminating spread says it all-with a heart. A tender supplement for toy and companionship titles.-Blair Christolon, Prince William Public Library System, Manassas, VA Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

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