Penguin on holiday by Salina Yoon

cover image

Bloomsbury, 2013. ISBN 9781408839072.
(Age: 3+) Recommended. Picture book. Holidays. Penguins. Friendship. With Penguin and pinecone (2012) Yoon subtly displayed all the aspects of friendship in a strangely moving tale of a Penguin searching for his friend Pinecone. Here she has reprised a similar theme, with Penguin deciding that he needs a holiday and so leaving on his ice flow for a holiday place north of where he lives.
In reading, children will recognise the need for going somewhere different from where they live now, see how people prepare for their holidays, and read something about different places having different things to offer.
Once he arrives at the beach, Penguin finds he cannot do the things he would have done at home. He cannot sledge or skate or ski on the hot sand, and so is disappointed. But Crab takes him in hand to show him what he can do on this beach, where it is hot and sandy. Together the two make sandcastles, swim, climb a coconut tree and play together until it is time for Penguin to go back home. While heading south he notices that he has a passenger, and finds Crab. He needs a holiday as well, and returns with Penguin to his home.
This is a disarming tale of friendship, as the two quite dissimilar beings help each other enjoy their time away from home. Children will laugh at the antics of Penguin expecting to be able to do the same things on his holiday, and at the oddity of a penguin doing beachy things. Teachers and parents will be able to use this book on many levels, discussing not only change and difference, but holidays, what to expect when away from home, friendship and even the concept of north and south.
Fran Knight