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A Penguin Story

3.89 of 5 stars 3.89  ·  rating details  ·  762 ratings  ·  109 reviews
Edna the penguin only knows the three colors that surround her: white ice, black night, and blue sea. She is convinced there is something more out there. So she sets out on a quest—a quest for color. When she finally finds what she's been looking for, it's everything she hoped for and more. But that doesn't mean she will ever stop looking.
Hardcover, 40 pages
Published December 23rd 2008 by HarperCollins
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Tacky the Penguin by Helen LesterAnd Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson365 Penguins by Jean-Luc FromentalLost and Found by Oliver JeffersA Penguin Story by Antoinette Portis
Picture Books with Penguins
5th out of 68 books — 38 voters
14 Cows for America by Carmen Agra DeedyThe Lion and the Mouse by Jerry PinkneyThe Curious Garden by Peter  BrownMoonshot by Brian FlocaRed Sings from Treetops by Joyce Sidman
2010 Caldecott Hopefuls
20th out of 60 books — 155 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,247)
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Betsy
Some of the picture books I read make me wish I were a better reviewer. I know my history of the art form. I know what makes one book a stronger better read than another. I can sense when a book will feel right to an adult and to a child. But I am bested by the best sometimes. A Penguin Story comes from Antoinette Portis, a woman who has figured out how to do something extraordinarily difficult: combine good design with pitch-perfect storytelling. Not a Box, her debut, was no fluke. Switching ge...more
Lisa Vegan
Nov 17, 2009 Lisa Vegan rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: penguin lovers; seekers of all ages
I love the illustrations of the penguins and the premise of the story. Edna the penguin is curious about what’s out in the world besides the three colors she knows: white ice, black night, and blue sea. I thought that Edna and the other penguins were very endearing and appreciated Edna’s curiosity and sense of adventure. I loved the humor that’s in abundance throughout the whole book. However, what Edna and then the other penguins find: two more colors, but a lot of the fun of it went away for m...more
Erin Reilly-Sanders
While I think that this book is actually very good, for some reason I'm not in love with the little penguin, which I would expect for a story like this. I think that while it artwork is superb, the penguins themselves are a little boxy and somehow lose some of the natural penguin charm, which I think might have something to do with their sleekness. In any case, the illustrations are excellent with every colour and every spread carefully considered such as the white page for white which transitio...more
Britteny Gilge
The illustrations in this story are very well done. All the pictures are black, white, and blue- these are the only colors that Edna has ever known. She is tired of a world with only these colors and wants to search the world to find something that is not white, black, or blue. The other penguins don’t think that she will find anything and even offer for her to join them once she gets tired of looking. Edna replies “I will never get tired of looking”. Her dedication and perseverance take her on...more
Natalie
Portis, the author of the present in every art museum gift shop, book Not A Box, seems to have made it a mission to push the value of the imagination onto her readers.

Her latest book starts out as a poetic riff on color. "White, thinks Edna. Like yesterday. Black. Like tomorrow." Edna(tee-hee)the penguin, has a sense of longing for the unknown, she yearns for something different and new, it becomes clear that she has faith that it exists. While other penguins go about meeting their daily needs,...more
JustOneMoreBook.com
Delightfully expressive body language and the thrill of missed details make this artfully simple-seeming tale an endearing adventure in determination, imagination and belief in the unimaginable.

You can listen in on our chat about this book on our Just One More Book! Children's Book Podcast.

More penguins on JOMB:
Patrick the Somnambulist
Cuddly Dudley
And Tango Makes Three (review submitted by Sage Tyrtle)

We’d love to hear your thoughts on a favourite children’s book. Leave a voice message on our J...more
Karen
My almost-five-year-old son picked this book out from the library this week.

I liked this book right away because my son "read" the title perfectly. OK, he guessed at the title, but he got it right. I also liked it right away because -- Penguins!

Antoinette Portis debuted her career in children's literature with Not a Box. Not a Box is brilliant. Not a Box is perfect. Not a Box is completely and utterly charming. I bought Not a Box about two years before I even had a child. A Penguin Story is go...more
Becky
Antoinette Portis (Not A Box) might be my new hero. Her books are so simple and so well-designed. You already know that a box can be many things when imagination is applied, but can you make a story out of it? You already know that blue and orange are complementary colors, and that the appearance of orange in a world of black, white, and blue would be an attention-getting moment, but can you make a story out of it? Antoinette Portis can!

"There is white ice for sliding," says Edna. "There is blac...more
Stacy268
Oct 23, 2008 Stacy268 rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Stacy268 by: preview
Edna is tired of seeing the same old thing. The white of the snow. The black of the night. And the blue of the never ending sea. There must be something else, she thinks.

Instead of playing with all of the other penguins, Edna decides to go exploring. She soon makes a discovery. A bright orange discovery.

There are scientists in the area, and Edna leads her penguin friends to tents, people, parkas, and planes.

Edna is so satisfied with her discovery that readers can feel her happiness. Readers wil...more
Typhani
Summary: Edna the penguin only knows the three colors that surround her: white ice, black night, and blue sea. She is convinced there is something more out there. So she sets out on a quest—a quest for color. When she finally finds what she's been looking for, it's everything she hoped for and more. But that doesn't mean she will ever stop looking. Thanks Goodreads!

Audience: Ages 4-8

Genre: Picture Book

Use: Independent reading, read aloud

Life Lessons: Setting out to find something worthwhile in t...more
Leanne Hooper
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Ubalstecha
Edna the Penguin sees one of three colours every day, white, blue and black. She is bored of her tricolour world and longs to see something new, something different. So Edna sets out to explore and see the world. She discovers an Antarctic research team, and she sees orange for the first time. Edna drags the rest of her colony along with her on the journey, expanding all of their horizons.

Author/Illustrator Antoinette Portis has vreated a very simply illustrated book, but that works with the the...more
Fara Carson
A Penguin Story

Portis, A. (2009). A penguin story. New York, NY: HarperCollins.

Concept Book

This is a story about a penguin searching for "something else" beside things that are black, white, and blue. She finds her something else when she meet scientist. The drawings in the book are child like and not anything fantastic but it does follow the story. I chose this book for my concept book because of the focus on the colors. Ages Prek-1st.
Jess
Oct 25, 2010 Jess rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: preschool / K; teachers/parents of kids that age, penguin fans
Penguins live in a world of white, black, and blue. Edna thinks there must be more, so off she goes to discover the something else.


Fun picture book about colors, discovery, and (short) adventures. I like the Edna is looking for something, that she knows there must be more to the world. More importantly, that she's willing to look, willing to share, and willing to want more.

I suspect it'll make a great readaloud for preschool and kindergarten, especially around January or when discussing colors....more
Nicole
Jan 26, 2010 Nicole rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: any and all
I'll admit, I had to be sold on this one. I liked it the first time around but would have dismissed it out of turn had it not been for some rather passionate debating at our Mock Cal.

It's a whimsical page-turner, in every sense of the word (slash 3 words and a hyphen). Stylized, minimalistic, textured. Well designed from endpaper to endpapaer, with a clear yet funny message.

I could do without the acid trip page, but is there anything cuter then the close-up of little miss penguin? Props to the s...more
Morgan Miller
Basic colors. There's something else out there...
Ezekiel
A Penguin Story follows Edna, a penguin who wants to find something else. She wants to find a color that isn't white, black, or blue. She goes searching with the support of the other penguins (though it is obvious they don't have the same desire), and finds a research station (with orange). I feel it is great both for the neat illustrations (which are simple but convey a lot), for helping kids with colors, and for the message it sends about how being different is ok, and how searching for one's...more
Ana Rînceanu
If there is a heaven, it's filled with curious penguins.
Snorkle
This is a cute book about a whimsical little penguin who knows there has got to be something more than white, black or blue. So he sets out to find it, and what does he find? Well, I guess you'll just have to read it to find out! I thoroughly enjoyed the illustrations for this book, they gave it a very modern and yet simplistic feel. And I must say, the last page of the book was simply my favorite. I'd recommend this book.

*Taken from my book reviews blog: http://reviewsatmse.blogspot.com/2009...
Heidi
Really cute. Love the color aspect--especially how it was used in the illustrations. I like the off-in-the-distance "hints" in some of the pictures. Fun and worth a try in storytime.

2/20/13 & 2/21/13: Used this in my "going on a journey" theme. Told the kids to be on the look out for other colors. Had to tell them there was something to find on the page, which had them looking intently and then excited when they found it. I think they missed some of the subtle humor, which was not surprising...more
Erica - Bonner Springs Library
Edna is a penguin who notices that the world is black, white and blue. She decides there must be more, so she sets off on a journey with a packed lunch of a fish. When she finds something orange, she races home to tell the other penguins about the orange that she's found. Then they all find out that the orange Edna found is a scientists' camp. Edna loves that there is something else in her world now that isn't black, white or blue. And she begins to wonder what else may be out there.

First read J...more
Erica
Edna is a penguin who notices that the world is black, white and blue. She decides there must be more, so she sets off on a journey with a packed lunch of a fish. When she finds something orange, she races home to tell the other penguins about the orange that she's found. Then they all find out that the orange Edna found is a scientists' camp. Edna loves that there is something else in her world now that isn't black, white or blue. And she begins to wonder what else may be out there.

First read J...more
Melanie
Edna the penguin is tired of looking at the same 3 colors all the time: black, white and blue. She's convinced that there must be more color out there somewhere. So while her friends are playing and searching for food, Edna is searching for color.

One day she finds it! She bumps right into a something that is not black, white or blue! She runs back and invites all of her penguin friends to come see this thing that is not black, white or blue. Everyone is stunned. "WOW!" they exclaim.
Jessie
I loved this story I thought it was super cute. I was really happy for the penguin when he finally found what he was looking for.

My summary,
The whole book the little Penguin is looking for something that is not white blue or black because he thinks that is all that is in his world. One day he goes out on a journey and he finds a research group. The penguins help the group out and rind out that there is more then just blue black and white in the world. Now he is happy.
Anne Broyles
Sweet, soulful pictures and four colors make for a book that may fly over the heads of the youngest readers, but can be read on at least two levels: the story of a young penguin who is looking for more in life than blue, black and white, and the spiritual search for MORE in life.

I enjoyed this more on the second reading and could see parents expanding their child's understanding that life sometimes requires us to search for that special "something else."
Kaethe
May 29, 2010

Pretty much impossible for me to walk by a book about penguins and not pick it up.

***

Cute. We liked it, but the Offspring and I agree: more colors would have been better.

***
January 10, 2012

The library had a display of snow books. I picked it up again, because I didn't remember reading it.

This time we did not feel it lacking in any regard.

Library copy.
Magila
This book had a nice message, helping to share that the world is bigger, more interesting, and more colorful than we see ourselves. I wish I liked it more than I did, but it just wasn't that great.

The illustrations were ok. Penguins, who doesn't love penguins! I think the book wasn't long enough to really get its point across and be interesting. Grab it from the library, but don't bother buying it.
Lauren
Edna is a penguin who believes there are more colors out there in the world besides white, black and blue. Edna goes exploring and finds scientist with an orange plane and orange clothes and gloves. The scientist leave a glove with the penguins. Edna is still determined to find the other colors in the world.

This book may be used when teaching about places where it snows all the time like Antarctica.
Kim
Another winner from Antoinette Portis (author of Not a Box and Not a Stick). Portis offers the essence of why we explore and what drives us to seek answers. Portis uses her signature simple, cartoon style illustrations, and the horizontal trim of the book lends itself to the antarctic landscape. Words are sparse and placed strategically throughout the art to form a poetic free verse.
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129061
Antoinette attended the UCLA School of Fine Arts and is a former creative director at Disney. She lives in Southern California.
More about Antoinette Portis...
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