PENGUIN AND LITTLE BLUE

Megan McDonald, Author, Katherine Tillotson, Illustrator , illus. by Katherine Tillotson. Atheneum/Jackson $15.95 (32p) ISBN 978-0-689-84415-7

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.)

Reviewed on: 08/25/2003
Release date: 09/01/2003
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