This week we have gone black, white and waddling all over.
Black, white and waddling is a great opportunity to focus on non-fiction books. Penguins seem to attract engaging, well written, well illustrated books.
My favourite (making it a perfect choice for Perfect Picture Book Friday) black, white and waddling book is The Emperor's Egg.
written by: Martin Jenkins
illustrated by: Jane Chapman
published by: Candlewick Press (2002)
themes: non-fiction, Emperor penguins
fabulous for children 4-7
The book begins ....
Down at the very bottom of the world, there's a huge island that's almost completely covered in snow and ice. It;s called Antarctica, and it's the coldest, windiest place on earth. The weather's bad enough there in summer, but in winter it's really terrible. It's hard to imagine anything actually living there. But wait ... what's that shape over there? It can't be. YES! It's a PENGUIN.
That introduces us to the hero of the tale: the penguin papa.
The book description states: Can you imagine spending the winter outdoors in Antarctica without anything to eat? That's just what the male emperor penguin does. While his mate of off swimming and catching loads of fish, he stands around in the freezing cold with an egg on his feet for two whole months, keeping it warm and waiting for it to hatch. Welcome to the story of the world's most devoted dad.
I love this book because ....
• it shares a bunch of information about Emperor Penguins and their eggs
• this information is presented in a fun, conversational tone, making me root for the papa penguin, huddled with all the other papas, taking care of his egg
• I celebrated with the papa and the hungry chick when Mom came home - family reunion
• my students loved the editorial comments about Mom and Dad penguin regurgitating for their chick
• the illustrations are naturalistic, giving a good idea about the Antarctic landscape, but are still a whole lot warmer and friendlier than the penguin's environment
• it's a lot of fun to read aloud
• it made me and my students laugh
a few penguin resources
We checked out a few penguin cams. Sea World in San Diego has Emperor penguins in their penguin exhibit - it was our favourite.
We also became YouTube penguin clip junkies.
Birth and March of Emperor Penguins - 6 mins 20 secs
Baby Penguins First Steps - 2 mins
The egg on the top right is an Emperor penguin egg.
clockwise from top centre: king, emperor, Magellanic, Adelie, and gentoo. King and emperor penguins incubate eggs on the tops of their feet. The elliptical shape fits snugly. If the egg happens to fall off, it will roll in a circle instead of a straight line away from the parent bird.
Since my kidlets were so disgusted/enthralled with regurgitation (it has 5 syllables which make it a pretty cool word), I have to share this poem from Antarctic Antics with you.
It's been one whole hour since I ate.
Why is my dinner always late.
While you and Mom procrastinate,
I might become a featherweight.
You know what I'd appreciate?
Cough it up Dad! Regurgitate!