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When books come into our house they are generally read to both children. From there, someone will usually like it, and someone will generally be indifferent to it. This was the case with "Penguin" by Polly Dunbar. By four year old listened happily, but it didn't catch his interest enough. On the opposite side of the scale, our daughter who is almost two embraced it and hands it to us pretty much every evening for a read. We could safely say it is her favourite book out of all that we own.
Penguin's front cover is mostly white. In the centre there is an illustration of a penguin. Admittedly I probably would not have been drawn to this in a shop, but as they say, Never judge a book by its cover. It has a lot more going on inside.
Turning the first page you will find an illustration of the little boy (Ben) ripping open a present to find a Penguin. He is excited to find a new friend and wants to have fun with the penguin. But alas, no matter what he tries, Penguin is unresponsive. Ben tries everything from poking penguin, tickling him, singing to him and lots more. Eventually Ben gets upset (just like a toddler would) and cries, then gets frustrated and tries to feed penguin to a lion who just happened to be passing by. This doesn't go down too well with the lion, and he eats Ben instead. Penguin saves the day in the end. I'm sorry, I have given most of the story away, but it's a children's story and there's not really much to it!
I read the other reviews on this little book and I was surprised that people didn't warm to it. Some one had commented that the story didn't flow. I would say that I have a different view point of the staccato sentences. As you finish one of the sentences, it has normally been an action of some sort. For example "Ben Tickled Penguin." It's short and abrupt, but when reading the book to a toddler it give you the time to tickle the child and for them to tickle you back. It becomes more than just a story. So you get to prod your toddler, blow as raspberry at them, pull a funny face at them and so on. Believe me, a toddler will find this hilarious. We've read it so many times that she knows it off by heart now.
I never get tired of reading this book to our daughter because she's hilarious as she acts it out while it is being read. The funniest is where Ben says "Will you talk to me if I stand on my head" Cue toddler bottom in the air as she puts her head to the floor. It's all very exciting.
All in all, I like this story. I think it is very nice to be so interactive with my toddler. I also find the story charming and cute. The illustrations are sweet too. I would recommend it for the 18 months - 2.5 year group as children older than that are probably looking for something with more action.
4/5 from me.
Penguin by Polly Dunbar!
This story looks very simple on the front, a basic white page with the letters "Penguin" and a picture of an animated penguin. The title itself doesnt really tell you much so let me explain.
Ben a young child gets a present, when he opens it he finds a Penguin and instantly takes a liking to him, he tries to play with him, to talk to him, tickle him, even pull funny faces but Penguin wasnt intersted and said nothing back. Ben tries and tries his hardest even by wearing silly hats and singing songs,firing him on a rocket into outer space and trying to feed him to the Lion but still Penguin said nothing. Until that is when the Lion eat's Ben for being too noisy and Penguin fights back the Lion to free his friend Ben.
The story has lots of pictures and the writing is bold and simple. Each page has many illustations and is very colourful.
The story itself is basic, its not the best story in the world in my opinion and my child looses interest quite quickly. The story doesn't really flow and the pages and pages of white looks a bit bland.
I have this story in paperback, but it can be purchased from most book stores or Amazon for little over £5.
The book itself has won the Early Years Award in 2007, although not a overly well known story - it's worth taking out from your library to try.
Penguin by Polly Dunbar
Published 3 March 2007
Ben gets a penguin as a present but the penguin is on the quiet side. Nothing Ben does have any effect on the Penguin, not even the wandering Lion (who doesn't fancy a Penguin snack). What could make Penguin talk? You'll have to get to the end of the book to find out!
This book was bought on the weekend by one of my little charges (aged 6). She really enjoyed reading the book with her Mum and wanted to read it to me as soon as I got to work in the morning, however she had to wait until after school as we didn't have any time.
I hadn't heard of Polly Dunbar before, but according to the blurb, she has been writing and illustrating books since she was 16. She has written lots of children's books and Penguin is the most critically successful to date, winning several awards in 2007, including the Booktrust Early Years Award in the Pre School category.
Whilst aimed at younger children, I think that this makes a good book for those children who are just beginning to read, as there are a lot of repetitive words, including "Penguin said nothing" which gives children the ability to latch on to the look of those words. My six year old charge easily read this book, but still found enjoyable, especially the illustrations, which I thought were delightful. Pictorial storytelling is put to great use here, with every attempt Ben makes to get Penguin to talk having it's own illustration, thus enabling those children who are reading it themselves to take a guess at what's happening. It also assists those younger children who are telling the story from just the pictures, as under-threes are apt to do.
Overall an enjoyable book, but one thing to note is that the children have not picked up the book again (I wrote this review two weeks ago but have only just found the piece of paper I wrote the review on). They have instead gone back to the Julia Donaldson books that they already know well. Whilst the illustrations are lovely, I can't help but wonder if the lack of an in-depth story has made it less appealing. We shall see if this becomes consigned to the bookshelf or if it makes it to the hallowed place at the bottom of the bed with the other bedtime favourites.
My youngest got some books off a friend for her 2nd birthday, one of them was a book with the name Penguin. It was really bought as my eldests favourite animal is a penguin and they thought she might like to read it to her little sister.
The author/illustrator Polly Dunbar had her first book pulished at sixteen. It was a cartoon book inspired by teenage antics, she has been writing and illustrating ever since.
She got the idea for 'Penguin' when her brother gave her a toy penguin on the understanding that she looked after it.
The cover of the book is quite plain; it's white with PENGUIN written at the top in letters of different shapes, sizes and colours. Polly Dunbar in written in the centre underneath in black and under that is a picture of a penguin.
The book is about a little boy called Ben (Polly's brother is called Ben) that gets a penguin for a present. You can see by the picture that Ben is pleased with his present. "Hello penguin. What shall we play" said Ben. Penguin said nothing.
"Can't you talk?" said Ben Penguin said nothing.
Ben then starts to do silly things such as pulling faces, dancing, singing and standing on his head. Still penguin said nothing. Ben gets frustrated and starts to do horrible things to penguin to try to make him talk, still nothing.
Penguin ends up saving Ben but I am not going to tell you how it happens.
The book is simple for children to understand and talk about as the words are written in simple sentences and the pictures are amusing. It repeats penguin said nothing. Young children seem to like things being repeated in books, it might be boring for adults but children enjoy knowing what is coming next and being able to join in.
My daughter likes to read books that she knows to her toys so the simple repeated sentences is what she remembers and these are the ones you hear her say when she is reading books.
On a recent trip to our local library, I was a little disappointed that I couldn't seem to find any books that my daughter hadn't borrowed in the past. We decided to settle for some stories that we hadn't heard of. One of them stories was a book called penguin which was written by Polly Dunbar.
The cover of the book was pretty basic to be honest; it shows a picture of a pretty basic penguin with the title above it. Usually the cover of the book entices my daughter into wanting to read it but as I mentioned before we didn't have much to choose from. I wasn't very hopeful on this one.
The story is about a little boy called Ben who opens a present to reveal a little penguin inside. Ben tries everything from talking to tickling the penguin with no response. Ben becomes sad and desperately wants the penguin to give him some reaction, he pulls faces and sings silly songs and is amazed when the penguin won't laugh. Ben tries to send the penguin out to space, yet still nothing. In the end Ben decided to try and feed penguin to the lion, still the penguin doesn't respond. The lion decided to eat Ben for being so noisy and the penguin reacts by biting the lion's nose, who then releases Ben. Both the lion and Ben are amazed that the penguin has reacted. Ben and the penguin become close.
To be honest I thought the writing in this book wasn't very good at all, it seemed like no story was actually being told, and more like statements being made. For a moment near the end when the lion ate Ben, my daughter became a little upset by this part. The book does have basic pictures inside but the idea of it just isn't something I would have borrowed had I of known the end.
Overall I didn't really enjoy reading this book and my daughter didn't really enjoy hearing it. She likes adventure and mystery and this story didn't provide it, it was rather bland.
This book is simply titled, Penguin. The cover is white and has a picture of a funny looking penguin and above this is the title in nice bright patterned lettering. The back cover is also white and has a picture of Ben, the small boy in the story holding his penguin and a short paragraph about the book.
The story starts with Ben opening his present, it was a penguin. Ben said hello to him. He asked the penguin what they should play, Penguin said nothing, Ben asked him if he could talk but penguin still said nothing. Ben then tickled penguin but he did not laugh, he pulled a funny face but penguin still did not laugh. Then Ben put on a silly hat, sang a silly song, did a silly dance but penguin still said nothing.
Ben asked Penguin is he would talk to him if he stood on his head, but still penguin did not say a word.
What would Ben have to do to get penguin to talk to him or would penguin never say a word?
This is a very simple book with a lovely little story. The words are in nice easy to read spaces on each of the pages and on most pages there is only one sentence. The pages all have nice pictures which help to tell the story as they show the silly things which Ben has been doing to try and get the penguin to talk. I find the pictures really do help to tell the story. They also help to keep my 4 year old involved in the book and not want to go and do something else.
The way it has been written is great as it means new and beginner readers will find this a very simple book to read independently. It is only a short story so they will be able to read it all in about 5-10 minutes. It tales me slightly longer to read this to my 4 year old as he has to sit with me a talk about all the things he can see in the pictures and then make up his own story.
The book has been written by Polly Dunbar and published by Walker Books. There is no retail price on the back of my book as it was part of my sons Book start set from school but I imagine this will be around the £5 mark or even cheaper on Amazon or EBay so do shop around for a bargain as this is a lovely little book.
I recommend this book as it is only short and is ideal for if you are short on time or even a nice simple bed time read.