Jeanne Willis & Jarvis
Polar Bears live at the North Pole, penguins at the South Pole and never the twain shall meet, or do they?
One day a penguin family, the Pilchard Browns, get themselves lost en route to a picnic spot. The trouble was Mr P-B’s instructions had been wrong – now does that sound a familiar family scenario? – with the result that, as the story opens, they find themselves drifting towards …
The dialogue is a hoot: “This is the North Pole, my friends,” said Mr White. “The South Pole is 12, 430 miles that way.”
“So, I was a few miles out,” shurugged Mr Pilchard Brown. “Anyone can make a mistake.”
“Don’t think of it as a mistake,” said Mr White.”Think of it as a big adventure.” …
“Mummy says we should always follow our dreams,” said Peeky.
“Daddy says we should always follow him,” said Poots.
Mr White is elected to guide the picnickers to the South Pole and thus achieve his own dream. Off go the adventurers over land and sea until they reach …
The US proves exciting but it isn’t home, nor the right place for a picnic, so on they travel, the next stop being England. However, although the place has its charms, home it isn’t, nor an appropriate picnic spot so Mr White takes the party on to Italy. Pog has to hold on to his wee urge as they take a gondola ride along the canals of Venice.
The next port of call is India – dazzling for sure but again, not home
so off they go to Oz, a ‘bonzer’ place but not home and … well you know the rest.
Their journey continues until finally they reach the South Pole and there Mr White joins them for that long anticipated picnic. After a while though, the polar bear feels the pull of the North Pole and so, he walks all the way back to his home.
A great adventure was assuredly had by all; but that’s not quite the end of the story for a surprise awaits our North Pole dweller …
but even that isn’t the end …
With its patterned text, largely in dialogue this wonderfully preposterous tale is tremendous fun to share with a class or group of under sevens. Mine were soon joining in the repeat refrains with great enthusiasm.
Penguin’s Big Adventure
Bloomsbury Children’s Books
Penguin has an idea: he wants to be the first of his kind to set foot on the North Pole. Having packed his rucksack and rolled his map, (sporting as ever, his orange scarf) off he goes on his travels. En route he passes some of his friends and relations busy with their own world record preoccupations
and eventually reaches his destination. But his celebratory shouts of ‘Hooray!’ meets with silence: and Penguin feels lonely and scared.
There follows an encounter with Polar Bear and the two spend time together adventuring and exploring.
That however, is only part of the story for the purpose of his friends’ activities is made clear when they appear in a hot air balloon to take him back home with them.
Fans of Penguin and his adventures will enjoy this latest episode though I suspect some of the visual references alluding to previous Penguin stories will go over the heads of those who are making his acquaintance for the first time.
As always, Salina Yoon’s bold, bright illustrations have a quirky cuteness about them.
Exciting Children’s Book Illustration Autumn Exhibition in Piccadilly from 23rd to 29th October