Penguins! (National Geographic Kids), by Anne Schreiber
This book is one of many that shows a publisher trying to release a penguin book for its target demographic of young readers fascinated by cute penguins. Interestingly enough, this book is a bit out of date when it comes to talking about penguins, and adopts a different approach than most to talking about penguins. And this difference of approach and problems with accuracy are both something that are characteristic of the National Geographic approach to writing . That is not to say that this is a bad book by any means, it is merely different from a lot of other books written about the same subject, and a key aspect of the difference is that this book focuses less on narrative and more on attempting to provide a vocabulary about animals and a lot of photos. Strangely enough, even though National Geographic has a purported purpose of increasing geographical knowledge, I tend to find its maps to be quite weak, but frequently its photography work is excellent and that is certainly the case here. Whether or not this book is to be recommended, it is by no means a difficult read and includes a lot of interesting information, even if that information is not always complete, as it does not separate the Rockhopper into northern and southern as has been done more recently.
In terms of its contents, this book is a short and descriptive work of around 32 pages, a pretty normal length for children’s books. The book is divided into several unnumbered chapters that ask and the nseek to answer various questions that one would have about penguins in an attempt to be an informative guide about penguins for young science readers who are likely trying to complete some sort of report about the animal for their homework assignments or projects in school. These sections include a look at what penguins are, flightless birds well-designed for swimming. The book discusses where penguins live, in the Southern hemisphere but a broader area than is commonly thought, extending to New Zealand and the Galapagos Islands. The author asserts that penguins are not just any bird and also examine the question of what it is that they eat. Included are brief discussions of the penguins life on land, the birth of adorable chicks, and other chapters that include their long march, penguin parades, and penguins at play, after which the book ends with a picture glossary.
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