Thursday, May 28, 2009

Busy Penguins

Book: Busy Penguins
Photographs by: Jonathan Chester
Text by: John Schindel
Publisher: Tricycle Press

By popular demand, I am featuring the 94% adorable Busy Penguins (more on the 6% later). I defy anyone not to go "awww" at some point during this book, but the interesting thing is that it isn't a "cutesy" book, either.

We commemorated Baby H's first trip to the Monterey Bay Aquarium with this book as a souvenier (OK, and a few other things, too). It was also his first trip with his other baby friends, Baby Z and Baby G, two way-cute little girl babies. I was reading the book in detail while we were waiting for the three babies' restroom / eating cycles to get in sync, when I saw...

My least-favorite spread: "Penguins pooping" / "penguins drooping." I showed BlueDog this page, and she immediately said something like, "I could have never seen that in my whole life and been happy!" I agreed completely, which is why I also had to show her. Being grossed out loves company, I guess. Also, "penguins drooping" made me sad. Guess it's not a party all the time when you're a penguin. (Global warming commentary? Just tired penguins?) Anyway, maybe the pooping is one of the reasons the books isn't overly cutesy, which is a good thing.

Baby H's current favorite spread: He likes many of them, but the "penguins sliding / penguins diving" is his favorite. I think he likes the contrast of the penguins sliding on the ice.

My favorite spread: I love "penguins sharing / penguin caring." It's so sweet. Although again, the "sharing" image reminds me of global warming. Maybe I'm paranoid.

Deep thoughts: It's a crisp, modern photo book, making it a refreshing alternative to most of Baby H's collection of illustrated books. The words are fun--the rhyming is bouncy but not obnoxious--and the way the words look is fun, too. Many spreads have the text's appearance reflect the action--so "penguins sliding" the text is sliding down, too. Very fun.

The "penguin pooping" page is inexplicably yucky to me, since all baby caretakers witness way worse than that every day. I'm sure babies wouldn't even think twice about it, since it's a normal part of a day for penguins, babies, and anyone else! Maybe I just have enough poop in my day to deal with.

Then again, when we're trying to teach Baby H to use a toilet, perhaps it could be helpful in some way. "You don't want to poop on the ground like a penguin, do you?" Actually, that kind of makes it sound like fun. In any event, the book's a charmer, and Baby H isn't old enough to know when I skip a page yet.