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Sunday, June 18, 2017

Penguin Day: A Family Story. By Nic Bishop. Scholastic, 2017. $22.99 ages 3 and up

"Mama Penguin had a big journey ahead of her. She and the other penguins will travel far to get food for their families.

They will scamper over hills ...
... and climb down cliffs.

They will hop across sand ...
... until finally they reach
the sea."

Let me just tell you this: life in not a 'bowl of cherries' for a southern rockhopper penguin chick. When they are first born, they are cold. It's the Antarctic, after all. Lucky they are to have parents who understand that, and can protect them. Next, they are hungry - all the time. Again, they are blessed with parents (this time, a mother) willing to head out to sea in spite of the cold and the dangers inherent in facing orcas, sharks and sea lions. Finally, it's boring waiting for a parent to return when you are hungry. So, finding a friend to commiserate with is a necessity. Finding none, our little guy (or gal) heads off to explore and learns a well-learned lesson, we can only hope!

Papa does do parenting duty while Mama is off filling her belly with fish and krill. It's advantageous that Papa has an eye for trouble, and recognizes the danger inherent in a skua's need for food. He keeps his chick safe, and the two return to the colony following the chick's exploratory shenanigans. Guess who's waiting for them? Then, it's supper and bedtime for one tired and satisfied baby - and the same for its parents.

Nic Bishop amazes me with every new book he writes. His photography is exemplary, often stunning his readers with unique and astounding views of the natural world. The lengths to which he goes to get them are equally surprising:

"The author spent three weeks photographing rockhopper penguins for this book. Severe gales and freezing temperatures often made things difficult for him but never daunted the penguins. Every day they ventured into stormy seas and climbed home over tall cliffs, meeting each challenge with feisty determination."

An author's note provides helpful information about the penguins themselves. Might I just add that they are quite stunning with their bright beaks, red eyes and distinct crown!

Check out more about Nic at his website:

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