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A Penguin Story

3.91  ·  Rating Details ·  1,234 Ratings  ·  139 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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Nov 28, 2008 Betsy rated it it was amazing
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
Nancy Kotkin
Story: 4 stars
Illustrations: 4 stars

A penguin sets out on a quest to broaden her world beyond white ice, black night sky, and blue water. Her curiosity is rewarded, but not completely quenched. Iconic illustration style is effective for the story. Limited color palette of white, black, blue, and orange matches the text.
Lisa Vegan
Nov 12, 2009 Lisa Vegan rated it liked it  ·  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
Evie Sweet
Sep 27, 2015 Evie Sweet rated it it was amazing
Evie totally was going to blow this book off as "too baby" until I reminded her that Chrissy likes Penguins, so, in that case, it was ok to read for the night. Evie liked the story, she thought it was cute. Her favorite part was Edna going up the mountain with a fish, the coming down the mountain with fish bones.
Annie Payne
Feb 03, 2017 Annie Payne rated it really liked it
This adventurous little tale is great to read to get kids talking. You can discuss colors with littles, and you could talk about scientists with older littles. Regardless, it's a great story, and the kids enjoyed it!
Jan 04, 2017 Cheryl rated it really liked it
Charming fable, especially if you believe, as I do, that birds are actually smart enough to appreciate the stimulation of new color and new friends. I don't like all of Portis' work, but those that I do I usually love, and so I will continue to read more by her.
Feb 28, 2017 Christy rated it really liked it
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.
Feb 07, 2017 Sandy rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
A Penguin Story is written and illustrated by Antoinette Portis, author of Not a Box, a Theodor Seuss Geisel Honor Award Winner, 2007. I found it on the ALA website which lead me to A Penguin Story, an Irma Black Award Nominee 2010. This is a heartwarming story of Edna the penguin and her world. The only colors in her world are white, black, and blue. She describes what around her is made up of these colors. There is white ice for sliding, black night for seeing stars, and blue sea for hunting ...more
Zakiya Ray
This is a fascinating book about a little Penguin who gets bored from seeing a world of blue, white, and black. In his world (he lives in Antarctica) everyday he wakes up to the same blue sky and the same white snow. At night time, he sees the same black sky and he is just bored of these same colors. One day he decides to search for the "something else". He climbs snow covered mountains, treks across vast miles of snow covered plains, until at last he finds something that is the "something else" ...more
Mar 11, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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
Erin Reilly-Sanders
Aug 06, 2010 Erin Reilly-Sanders rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, picturebook
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
Nov 21, 2013 Britteny Gilge rated it really liked it
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
Feb 13, 2009 Natalie rated it really liked it
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,
Oct 10, 2013 Karen rated it really liked it
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
Feb 12, 2009 Rebecca rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Preschool and up
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
Dione Basseri
Edna the penguin has only seen white snow, blue sea, and black sky, but she knows there must be more. So she goes on a journey to find something else to see.

I was expecting...a lot more colors. And that may be part of my dissatisfaction with this book. There's supposed to be this punchline in the end, of Edna being about to discover another new color, but the punchline is just not funny in any way. Perhaps a child would be more impressed?

The art style is interesting, using spare shapes and solid
Oct 23, 2008 Stacy268 rated it really liked it
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
Oct 25, 2010 Jess rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: preschool / K; teachers/parents of kids that age, penguin fans
Shelves: picture-books, z_10
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.
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
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
Edward Creter
Edna the penguin belongs to kids' lit and I wish she would return someday. We sure could learn from this little bundle of feathery fluff! She lives in a cold Arctic region with barely any color at all, just black and white and a few shades of grey. But she wants more. She seeks the colors of the rainbow, and will go to the ends of the earth to find them all. That's us in an eggshell. We all seek pretty colors in this cold world, don't we? That's what's so magical about this book! Live for the co ...more
Jan 26, 2010 Nicole rated it really liked it
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
Jan 03, 2009 Laura rated it really liked it
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:
Sep 23, 2011 Ezekiel rated it really liked it
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
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
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
Margaret Welwood
Jun 30, 2015 Margaret Welwood rated it it was amazing
How does Edna, whose entire world is and always has been blue, black and white, know that there must be something else?

As in so many other picture books that draw young listeners/viewers in, we see the "something else" before Edna does. Not that we know what it is . . . but we think we do!

The story ends with an interesting question I could see kindergarten teachers pursuing as an art project.
Dec 28, 2012 Magila rated it liked it
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.
Fara Carson
Aug 28, 2014 Fara Carson rated it liked it
Shelves: libs-642
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.
Oct 20, 2010 Lauren rated it it was ok
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.
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Antoinette attended the UCLA School of Fine Arts and is a former creative director at Disney. She lives in Southern California.
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