Penguins (Seedlings), by Kate Riggs
It is always entertaining, at least for me, to read books that are clearly geared to people who are almost four decades younger than I am, and this book is clearly an example of that. This book, and presumably the whole series it is attached to, is designed to be a picture book with very limited text that is designed to be read aloud to little children as a way of informing them about penguins. Books like this help little kids develop a lifelong appreciations for penguins, which are an easy bird to love and full of such quirky ways that they are easy to relate to for awkward but dapper people of all ages. This is precisely the book that I could see myself showing to an appreciative infant or toddler and I’m reasonably positive that this is the purpose for the book in the first place, so it is a case where the design of the book and its very simple text is designed to encourage appreciation of penguins and the conveyance of a little bit of knowledge about them in a way that is very basic and fundamental, and not nearly as complex as the life of penguins in general.
The contents of this book are, as I mentioned earlier, pretty basic. Indeed, all of the words of this book could be printed without it taking too long. The photos, though, or gorgeous, so when you read “Hello, penguins,” you see a gorgeous penguin in rich blue water in full swim and another penguin fuzzy. Sometimes the basic information included can be a bit incomplete, as when a page says that most penguins live in or near Antarctica, which is true enough until you realize that their range includes forests in New Zealand as well as the cost of South America up to the Galapagos islands. I myself have personally seen penguins in central Chile, which was an enjoyable sight. The book includes basic information about the feathers of the penguins and their notable qualities like flippers (instead of wings) and webbed feet as well as introducing the fact that they live in rookeries, although that is not necessarily so for all penguins. Still, if this book gives very little information compared with how much it could give, at the very least it is an enjoyable book to read to young audiences that may encourage more serious books later on that provide nuance.