Baby Penguins Everywhere!

Melissa Guion, Author, Melissa Guion, Illustrator
Melissa Guion. Philomel, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-399-25535-9
Reviewed on: 11/05/2012
Release date: 12/06/2012
Board Books - 28 pages - 978-0-399-16516-0
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Guion's debut uses adorable penguins to salute the idea of taking time to recharge. Loosely drawn watercolor and pencil spreads show an unnamed penguin alone on an ice floe: "She enjoyed the peace and quiet of the sea and ice. Yet some days... she felt lonely." A top hat floating in the waves nearby turns out, miraculously, to contain several dozen baby penguins who emerge from it like clowns from a car. They create instant, 
exuberant chaos, frolicking with scarves and waving their stumpy wings in the air. It's easy to enjoy their fun: Guion's forms are simple but expressive, and her spreads convey gentle excitement. The new penguin mother is exhausted, though. A page turn shows her sitting alone with her eyes closed: "Happy as she was, she needed something. Just a minute to herself." Restored, she rejoins her family. Guion doesn't just explain to young readers why a parent might need an occasional break, she suggests that they, too, can listen for an inner voice that tells them they're in need of quiet time. Ages 2–5. Agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. (Dec.)