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Penguin and Little Blue


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PreS-Gr 2-Penguin and Little Blue perform stunts at a San Francisco water park, miles from Antarctica. They enjoy one another's company, but Penguin misses his many friends, with whom he longs to dive, huddle, and chatter. Their lives change dramatically when a promoter takes their show on the road. They stay in plush hotels all over the country, enjoying the amenities and indulging in room service, until one day Penguin spots a luxury cruise ship bound for his home. He books their passage on the spot, and a week later, the adventure ends with a joyful reunion at the South Pole. Inspired by a "hilarious" press photo of two penguins in a hotel room, McDonald's lighthearted fish-out-of-water tale anthropomorphizes its title characters in some ways, but they remain penguins at heart. Bright, icy blues predominate in Tillotson's oil paintings, which flesh out the comical aspects of the animals' predicament. A cheerful, charming read.-Catherine Threadgill, Charleston County Public Library, SC Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

Filled with fun puns, this penguin tale touts the importance of home and friends. Penguin and his young sidekick, Little Blue, perform daily for packed crowds but Penguin remembers the glories of his former life ("Once he'd been emperor, Antarctica's King of the Ice. Now he flew solo in a tank with four walls at Water World, San Francisco"). The penguins take their show on the road and wind up in Kansas, at the Sunset Inn Hotel. Delightful chaos ensues as they try to re-create the comforts of Antarctica in their hotel room, using air-conditioning, tubfuls of cold water and an ice machine (they order krill and Baked Alaska from room service).Tillotson's (Night Train) full-bleed spreads and spot illustrations vary the pacing and advance the story in varying shades of blue: the artificial pool setting of Water World yields to the purplish-blue of the hotel rooms, and again to the pale blues of Antarctica's ocean and glacier. McDonald (The Sisters Club, reviewed below) subtly interweaves numerous facts into the story: Penguin welcomes Little Blue to his home saying: "All the krill you can eat. Temperature: 128.6 below zero. And this is just the tip of the iceberg!" (and even works in a witty remark in closing, " `There's no place like home,' Penguin said, remembering Kansas"). This satisfying odyssey is sure to entertain. Ages 4-7. (Sept.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

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