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Thursday, February 23, 2017

When Grandad Was A Penguin, written and illustrated by Morag Hood. Two Hoots, Pan Macmillan. Publishers Group Canada. 2017. $22.99 ages 3 and up

"Perhaps he was just
getting older,
but I kept finding
him in the strangest

It was all a bit

Then one day the zoo

One of the teachers in my school loved to share penguin books with her first grade students. They learned a lot, and grew to love the little tuxedoed birds. So, I know Sheila would have loved to share this funny, imaginative book about swapping places.

A little girl is invited to stay with her granddad, a visit she usually loves. This time, however, she is a bit perplexed by his appearance. They sit together on the sofa - she keeps her distance while he drinks his coffee. Their conversation is filled with talk about fishing. His has great difficulty finding clothes that fit, spends a lot of time in the bathroom, and his resting places are quite strange. When she appears to be at her wit's end, a call comes in from the zoo. It explains why this visit is so bizarre!

Every turn of the page offers up an alternative to the written text. Told simply, I would read it first to kids without showing them the illustrations and let them imagine what is happening to cause her discomfort with the visit. Then, I would read it again with the art, and listen to their hoots of laughter and exclamations at the real reason for her observations. What about that hilarious surprise ending!

If you like this one, be sure to have a look at Morag Hood's other book that I loved, Colin and Lee, Carrot and Pea (2016).

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