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TURTLE’S PENGUIN DAY by Valeri Gorbachev


by Valeri Gorbachev & illustrated by Valeri Gorbachev

Pub Date: Aug. 12th, 2008
ISBN: 978-0-375-84374-7
Publisher: Knopf

The theory/practice continuum gets a comically endearing shake: The theory is that books can transport; the practice is getting the transport out of your head and giving it a ride. Father Turtle reads a book about penguins to Little Turtle. Little Turtle is smitten, enough so that he is ready to turn in his shell for a tuxedo, but some swaddling, a pair of red slippers and his grandfather’s old black coat do quite nicely. Little Turtle’s enthusiasm is as communicable as pink-eye, and all the kids in his class get it. For a day they are penguins: waddling, belly-sliding, passing a ball about with their feet as penguins do their eggs. Then that night, Father Turtle reads Little Turtle a book about monkeys. Pass the bananas. Gorbachev’s narrative is easy, keeping the story suggestively simple so as to let the reader slip right in, and his ink-and-watercolor artwork basks in the elemental joy of make-believe. Not so sly as sweet: Just as Little Turtle is ready to shrug out of his shell, readers will be anxious to shrug into theirs. (Picture book. 4-8)