Today I got a new batch of Easy Picture Books, and found a surprising number of them featured penguins. For those of us in the children’s library world, penguin books have been a big thing in recent years, since And Tango Makes Three was the Most Challenged Book of 2007 from the American Library Association. This new group of books prove much less controversial than Tango, but still deliver quality illustrated literature.
The first book is a quiet little tale by Antoinette Portis:
Edna is a contemplative penguin who looks out onto the seemingly endless white ice, black night, and blue water wondering if there is something else. She finally tires of wondering and ventures out to find that something else that surely exists.
Portis uses bold lines to create almost child-like artwork that complements the nuanced text; together, the text and illustrations create a work that holds appeal for various age groups. Preschoolers will be drawn in by the clear, bold illustrations and the color concept. Older children will be drawn to Edna’s boldness and independence in exploring uncharted territory.
Even adults will be able to appreciate Portis’s message of never losing the willingness to search for the new and exciting in a world that can sometimes seem insipid and mundane. Be like Edna–never get tired of looking.