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PENELOPE PENGUIN: THE INCREDIBLY GOOD BABY

Bianchi, John O
Newburgh (Ont.), Bungalo Books, 1992. 24pp, paper, ISBN 0-921285-11-6 (paper) $4.95, ISBN 0-921285-13-2 (library binding) $14.95. Distributed by Firefly Books. CIP


Kindergarten to Grade 2/Ages 5 to 7

Reviewed by Jane Robinson

Volume 20 Number 4
1992 September


Daphne and Cornelius Penguin are anticipating their first born with excitement and trepidation. Not all babies are good babies and both new parents fear for their tranquility. But baby Penelope is a good baby, a model baby. In fact, it turns out that Penelope is incredibly good. As she strives to be even better and please her parents more, they become increasingly less enthused. They end up educating Penelope about the normal kind of headaches babies are supposed to inflict on their parents. From then on everyone is happy until... (can you guess?) Penelope reaches puberty!

This is a quirky story, full of subtleties that are out of reach for the intended audience. Children enjoyed the more obvious humour, the brisk pace of the narrative, and the universal appeal a baby commands. But the story seems better suited to an older, sophisticated audience in perhaps a different format, that of the author's other forte cartooning.

The illustrations bear this out. They offer variety (in size and spacing) and sustain the pace of the story, which helps to maintain the interest of the reader/listener. But many of the illustrations contain detail and humour that needs to be explained, so that while they are warm and funny, the illustration contribute to the notion that this story is for a more adult audience.


Jane Robinson is a former teacher in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

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