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A Penguin Story



Last updated Monday, January 18, 2010

Author: Antoinette Portis
Date of Publication: 2008
ISBN: 0061456888
Grade Level: Kindergarten    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Dec. 2009

Synopsis: Starred Review. PreSchool-Grade 2—Like the imaginative heroes of Portis's Not a Box (2007) and Not a Stick (2008, both HarperCollins), Edna yearns for something different. Though her fellow penguins are content to play and eat in their world of white snow, black night, and blue sea, she seeks something else. She finds it—a giant, bright orange research station, inhabited by orange-coated researchers. When she takes the other penguins there, they are suitably impressed, and one of the researchers even gives her a colorful glove. As the others go back to their normal lives, Edna stands atop an iceberg, wearing the orange glove like a hat, wondering "What else could there be?" This gentle tribute to dreamers crackles with quiet humor, and the art's limited palette both parallels the plot and lends the book a classic feel. Portis's ability to convey emotion and character through the slightest change in Edna's beady eyes and flippers is extraordinary, and the interplay of the text and pictures nears perfection. A delightful story, delightfully told. From School Library Journal

Discussion topics:
•  Have you seen penguins? Where? Where do penguins live? (Antarctica)
•  What do they eat? (They eat fish)
•  Slid down ice/snow?
•  What is in the sky when Edna is looking for something?
•  What has she found? (Orange object)
•  What is Edna’s something else?

Craft ideas:
•  Trace hand and make bright colored gloves. What else could the glove be? (Hat? Turkey?)
•  Make a paper penguin puppet (see instructions on back of this sheet)
•  a)Draw an oval shape for the body b.) On top draw a circle for the head c.) long triangle on each side for wings d.) then make 2 smaller triangles for the feet,

Special activities:
•  Walk like penguins.
•  Play “I spy” with all the different colors in the classroom.
•  Balance egg (you can use a ball, or even balled up piece of paper on your feet like a penguin.)

*Note: These craft ideas are just suggestions. You can use them, but you don’t have to use them. You can expand upon them, or add your own twist. Remember, though, that the focus of your time should not be on the development and execution of a craft; the focus should be on the read-aloud and the enjoyment of the book!