There are so many terrific books about penguins. Between our collection at home and the choices at our library, we had so much fun reading during our penguin theme. This list includes some of our favorite fiction and nonfiction books for toddlers and preschoolers.
Books About Penguins
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That’s Not My Penguin was my toddler’s decided favorite in our penguin book collection. Each time I went to read it I found it had been secretly hidden under her pillow for quiet bedtime reading. Part of the Usborne touchy-feely board book series, toddlers love to feel the textures as they are introduced to different features of penguins.
I always like when our collection of theme books also gives us the opportunity to explore manners and character traits. In Penguin Says Please little penguin gets a little practice in asking nicely for things. This is something we work on daily, so I loved reading it aloud with my kids.
I am Small is a sweet story told from the perspective of a penguin chick. Compared to much of the world around the penguin is small, but in to mom the penguin is the biggest, most important thing in the world. It’s a great reminder for young toddlers.
In Penguins ABC kids take a tour of the alphabet as they see different photographs and are introduced to vocabulary related to penguins. My kids liked seeing all the different types of penguin species represented in the book. Penguins 123 is the counting companion that goes along with the alphabet book.
Fiction Books About Penguins
Penguin Pete is a board book about Pete, a young penguin who is too young to go swimming. This is a brief story about his adventures on shore while he awaits the big day when he’s allowed to go swimming for the first time. Little ones waiting to reach a milestone or watching with anticipation as older siblings take part in activities that they are still too little for will identify with Penguin Pete.
Five Little Penguins Slipping on the Ice is a silly version of the popular counting rhyme. It’s a fun story for helping kids learn to count backward.
If You Were a Penguin was one of my favorite penguin books to read in the classroom. It’s wonderful for getting kids to think about what it would be like to be a penguin.
Lost and Found is the story of a boy who finds a penguin on his doorstep. He goes through great lengths to help the penguin find his way home. But after leaving his new penguin friend behind he realizes he was looking for the wrong thing all along. This is a sweet story of unexpected friendship.
In Up and Down the boy tries to help his penguin friend learn to fly. In the process the two embark on quite and adventure.
In Penguin on Vacation Penguin needs a break from the snow, so he sets off to visit a sunny beach. Except it wasn’t what he expected until he meets a friendly crab who teaches him how to have fun on the beach. Penguin is happy to return the favor when Crab decides to come home with Penguin, and so begins a lasting friendship.
In A Penguin Story Edna the penguin stares out the blue, white and black colors that surround her, and she’s sure there must be something more. She sets off to find that something, and when she does she’s delighted. So are her penguin friends. This is a great story for discussing curiosity and talking with kids about things they are curious about.
Penguin by Polly Dunbar is a fun story for talking with kids about voice. In the story a little boy receives a penguin as a gift, but he’s disappointed that the penguin won’t talk to him. Kids will laugh at the antics the boy uses to try to get the boy to talk, and they’ll probably be a bit surprised by what finally works. This story had my kids giggling quite a bit.
The books about Tacky the Penguin are wonderful for discussing acceptance and the value of being yourself. The main character, Tacky, isn’t your average penguin. He’s just a bit different, but in all of the stories we read about Tacky his unique traits turn out to be a great help to his friends. In the original Tacky the Penguin story, Tacky saves his friends from hunters with his abnormal penguin behaviors. In Tackylocks and the Three Bears, Tacky saves the day with his silly antics and forgetfulness when he and his friends are putting on a play for the penguin kids. In Tacky Goes to Camp, Tacky saves the day again when an unexpected visitor comes to their camp in the middle of the night. You can find even more stories about Tacky, too.
We enjoyed reading the Little Pip books earlier this year when we did our Laura Numeroff book study for the Virtual Book Club for Kids. Little Pip is a lovable penguin chick who goes on many adventures, and young kids can often identify with the problems Little Pip faces in each story. In Where’s Home, Little Pip? the little penguin accidentally wonders away from her nest and is lost for a while before being found by her parents. In What’s in the Egg, Little Pip? Pip’s family is eagerly awaiting the arrival of a sister or brother for Pip. Don’t Be Afraid Little Pip is a great story for kids fearful of trying something new. In the story Pip is afraid to learn to swim, but she’s delighted when she learns how and realizes it’s very much like flying in the water.
Turtle’s Penguin Day is the story of a turtle who decides to become a penguin after reading a bedtime story with his father. With his chosen costume and the book in hand he heads off to school where his teacher and classmates embrace the opportunity to have a special penguin day. While I love that this story encourages kids to use their imagination, I also really like that it is a reminder to us teachers and parents to seize the moment and follow a child’s interest…even if it doesn’t always align with our plans for the day.
The Penguin and the Pea is a twist on the classic fairy tale The Princess and the Pea. Much like the traditional tale, the Princess finds his true Princess and the two live flappily every after.
Nonfiction Books About Penguins
Pierre the Penguin: A True Story was recommended to me by a friend who is a media specialist, and I’m so glad she suggested it. Pierre is an African penguin from the California Academy of Sciences, and he begins to lose his feathers. Lacking warmth, Pierre refuses to swim and is soon alienated by the other penguins. With some creative thinking from a biologist a wetsuit is created for Pierre, and he’s soon swimming and growing feathers again.
Baby Penguin Slips and Slides is a simple nonfiction book that is terrific for preschoolers or beginning readers. My kids loved the photographs, and I liked the inclusion of comprehension questions at the end of the book.
The Penguins! National Geographic Science Reader includes great photos and facts about penguins. There is just enough information to keep preschoolers engaged without being too lengthy to keep their attention.
The Emperor’s Egg is another text about the life cycle of the emperor penguin. When reading multiple nonfiction books on the same topic we like to compare the facts shared in each book to see which facts are confirmed in both books and which books offer new facts.
Emperor Penguins: Animals of the Snow and Ice contains a bit more text than the previous two books about emperor penguins, but it can still hold a preschooler’s attention. This book is also written more like a nonfiction text than a narrative, and it has many traditional nonfiction text features. It’s a great book for introducing these text features to preschoolers and kids in early elementary school.
Okay, now tell me which penguins books are your favorites. Which gems did I miss? I’d love to have some new ones to check out the next time we learn about penguins.
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