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Illustrator Catherine Odell’s stunning watercolor paintings and author Angela Burke Kunkel’s sparse, rhyming text combine to relate and celebrate the extraordinary journey of emperor penguins. In an author’s note, readers learn that “Emperor penguins are some of the most committed parents in the animal kingdom. Despite harsh conditions, both mother and father do their best to provide their chick with love and care.”  

Words joyfully leap off the page of this exquisite portrayal of one of God’s amazing creatures. As the male penguin waits for a mate, a female penguin arrives: “Packed snow. / Moon glow. / Windblown. / All alone. / Empty view. / Now two!” When the couple become a pair: “Swing, sway. / Call, play. / Beaks in air. / Now a pair.” When the egg is hatched: “Egg here, / keep near. / Feet kiss. / Near miss!” And when Mama penguin goes in search of food along with all the other female penguins: “Dark days. / Papa stays. / … Left on land, / papas stand. / Baby wakes. / Egg breaks.” Soon the female penguins return. Mama penguin is reunited with Papa penguin, and meets her chick: “Two, now three, / face out to sea. / … No matter the weather, / a family together.”  

Penguin Journey is a work of poetic and artistic beauty to be savored again and again, and provides an excellent opportunity to talk with children about the wonders of God’s creation and the responsibility we all share to care for it. (Harry N. Abrams)

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