Written and Illustrated by Melissa Guion
Philomel Books, 2012
Once there was a penguin, who was all alone. She enjoyed the peace and quiet of the sea and ice. Yet some days…she felt lonely.
The plot in a nutshell: A penguin finds a bunch of baby penguins in a hat and takes care of all of them, happy for the company, but a bit exhausted by the effort.
Baby Penguins Everywhere is the first published book from author/illustrator Melissa Guion. I picked it up at the library because, well, duh…it’s baby penguins! The library had it featured on the top of a shelf and the cover artwork was so adorable that it just found its way into my library bag.
The book has a very whimsical beginning, when a lonely penguin finds a hat floating in the sea and discovers that it’s filled with baby penguins. There’s never any explanation as to where they babies came from or why they were just floating out in the sea and honestly, we don’t really need a logical justification for it. They were there and the lonely penguin is instantly transformed into a busy momma penguin.
It’s at this point that the story turns more into something that many parents will easily understand and identify with. Momma penguin loves having all these little ones around her. Her loneliness is a thing of the past and she is surrounded by cute little furry things that want to play and laugh and have fun. But she finds she needs a moment to herself, to rest and breathe and recover from the new onslaught of adorable that has taken over her life. (I had three kids under three at one point, so I am reading you loud & clear, Momma Penguin!) She enjoys the quiet moment, but realizes that being with the babies is preferable. As you can see, the story is very simple, but Ms. Guion’s artwork makes it a cute choice to read to little ones, especially those who love penguins.
And what did we learn? What I take away from this book is that we all need time alone once in a while, to recharge and sort ourselves out, even when we’re enjoying time spent with others.