cover image Little Penguins

Little Penguins

Cynthia Rylant, illus. by Christian Robinson. Schwartz & Wade, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-553-50770-6

Five small penguins and their mother chill out in this playful, minimalist approach to winter. Rylant (the Mr. Putter and Tabby books) supplies only a few words per spread as the pointy-beaked penguins peek out of their blue-green igloo: “Snowflakes? Many snowflakes. Winter is coming!” The penguins call and respond as they gear up: “Mittens? Many mittens. And matching scarves. Socks? One for each foot!” Outfitted individually in red, blue, green, and white, four of the five sled and stomp until their mother and cautious yellow-scarfed sibling—sliding on their bellies—come out to collect them. Caldecott Honor–winner Robinson (Last Stop on Market Street) illustrates in cut paper and simple strokes of acrylic, envisioning the silhouette-black penguins as birdlike toddlers (or toddler-like birds). His snowflakes are shreds of white scattered on shades of blue, and captivating endpapers show walruses, a whale, gulls, and other wildlife. Visually and thematically reminiscent of Ezra Jack Keats’s beloved The Snowy Day, Rylant and Robinson’s story warmly celebrates a parent’s attentive presence amid an enticing winter backdrop. Ages 3–7. Agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. (Oct.)