cover image Be Brave, Little Penguin

Be Brave, Little Penguin

Giles Andreae, illus. by Guy Parker-Rees. Orchard, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-338-15039-1

A young penguin faces his fear in this rhyming tale from the team behind Giraffes Can’t Dance. While a colony’s penguins frolic in the sea, Pip-Pip stays on shore, building an igloo by himself: “Names like ‘Scaredy-Pip-Pip’/ Echoed in his ears./ He was sad and he was lonely,/ But he couldn’t show his tears.” When Pip-Pip’s parents ask what’s wrong, he responds with a worst-case scenario that includes freezing water, being unable to swim, and being eaten by a monster. Andreae’s story aims to inspire not just bravery but positive thinking, as evidenced by Pip-Pip’s mother’s reply: “What if in that water/ There are friends for you to meet?/ And what if it is light and warm/ And full of treats to eat?” She guides him to the water’s edge, where “he closed his eyes, he held his breath,/ And little Pip-Pip... jumped!” Parker-Rees creates an appealing balance between the sunny yellow sky, crisp white snow, and a shimmering sea of blue in his swoopy and loose images. Through the verse can be cloying or awkward, the message may still hit home with nervous readers. Ages 3–5. (Dec.)