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Pierre the Penguin: A True Story
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Pierre the Penguin: A True Story

3.9  ·  Rating Details ·  209 Ratings  ·  56 Reviews
When Pierre, a penguin living at the California Academy of Sciences, loses his feathers, he gets some help from his human friends. A true story of veterniary ingenuity.
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published April 6th 2010 by Sleeping Bear Press (first published April 1st 2010)
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Best non-fiction picture books
331st out of 359 books — 121 voters
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Best Children's Nonfiction
74th out of 219 books — 88 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Lisa Vegan
This is a lovely book for penguin lovers and those interested in aquatic biology, but it’s not ideal for those who get too upset about captive animals.

Oh, I’ve rarely been so torn about a book.

I’ve seen Pierre the penguin and his 19 fellow penguins at the Academy of Sciences. Yes, fellow vegans, I’ve been there, though I haven’t given them my money. (I do love the new planetarium, no live animals involved.) I love penguins. These guys are so adorable. I’ve gone up to the glass and “interacted” w
Aug 10, 2016 Bethany rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
1. Fiction Twin Text: Title: Where is Home Little Pip?, Author: Karma Wilson, Copyright: 2008
2. Rationale: These books are both about penguins who are in need of something and missing something in their lives. Where is Home Little Pip, extends the book Pierre the Penguin because it is about a penguin who lives in the cold Arctic while Pierre is an African penguin and lives in warm climates. Pierre needs help growing feathers and fitting in with his peers at the zoo. Pip wanders away from home an
Sep 24, 2013 Jim rated it it was amazing
beautifully illoed true story of a penguin in golden gate park that didn't like the cold and wasn't able to swim because of his illness. brilliant thinking by a biologist got pierre back in the water.

also has a good lesson about bullying and ignoring cosmetic changes or illness in a person
Jan 04, 2012 Melissa rated it it was amazing
Noah received "Pierre the Penguin" by Jean Marzollo for Christmas. It is based on a true story. This is about an African penguin named Pierre, who loses all of his feathers. It is a good book. I think it teaches a child that no matter what you can do anything. Here is an article that shows this. Within 6 weeks, Pierre was back in the water swimming with his friends. A little information about African Penguins:

"Penguins are "waterproof" because of the small muscles found at the base of their fea
Mary Ann
We love visiting aquariums and zoos, especially seeing zookeepers taking care of the animals and learning about ways we can help animals in their natural environments. We've always been fascinated with penguins, and there's a new story that will warm your heart: Pierre the Penguin. It's a true story, about a zookeeper's determined care and persistence in providing the best support and attention for the animals under her watchful eye. I also love sharing this story with children, and talking ...more
Robyn J
Feb 20, 2014 Robyn J rated it it was amazing
#3 Marzollo, J. (2010). Pierre the penguin: A true story. Ann Arbor, MI. Sleeping Bear Press.

1. Opening: “Boys and Girls, what do you know about penguins? (Listen to responses). What would happen if a penguin didn’t have feathers? (Listen to responses). I have a true story to share with you about a special little penguin, named Pierre. Listen closely to see if you can figure out what his challenge is. When we get to that place in the story, we’ll stop and do a little brainstorming to see if we
May 01, 2014 Jaden rated it it was amazing
Pierre the Penguin just about tops my list of cutest books I have ever read. Poor Pierre goes through a troubled time when he starts losing his feathers and nobody knows why. Because of this, Pierre not only has no protection from the cold, but also loses connection with his penguin buddies. Pierre was in luck when a biologist discovered a wet suit that turned his life back around. The fiction book I read that I felt paired nicely with Pierre the Penguin was Mr. Popper's Penguins by Richard and ...more
Jan 02, 2013 Kelly rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sascha Perry
Jul 17, 2014 Sascha Perry rated it really liked it

Primary readers are invited to learn about Penguins in this investigative tale to help webbed-footed friends. Pierre is an African Penguin and is different than his family. Pam, the aquatic biologist, assists Pierre with his changes. While reading this book students can learn more about penguins, that it is okay to be different, and the importance of caring for others. The best part is the story is true and provides questions and answers from Pam Schaller the Senior Aquatic Biologist at the Cali
Brittany Harrington
Aug 07, 2011 Brittany Harrington rated it it was amazing
What a beautiful, unique story. Of all the Chickadee nominated books for this coming school year, 2011-2012, this is by far my favorite. Pierre, a South African penguin, molted and could not seem to regrow his feathers. Dedicated biologists found a way to keep him warm enough to do so and be able to swim yet again. This delightful tale is told in rhyme, with a Q and A at the end of the story. Pierre is a great way to start off a unit on penguins, and as a bonus, has clips about ...more
Jan 23, 2015 Sandie rated it really liked it
A great story! Its a true story told in a way that is fun and easy for young kids to follow along with and keep their attention. Its not long winded or boring at all, an absolutely charming story about a very real little penguin with a very real problem.

We later looked him up online to find out more about him. I love a book that is interesting enough to make you want to go and learn more about event or place or person/animal that the book is about! Highly reccomend for all little ones!
Nitza Campos
May 17, 2012 Nitza Campos rated it really liked it
Based on a true story about a penguin who was losing his feathers and couldn't swim because he would get cold without his waterproof feathers. The other penguins actually began to pick on him. No need to worry because Pam, an aquatic biologist, helped the little guy out by making him his very own wetsuit. Who doesn't want to see a penguin in a wetsuit?! Great story and has a website you can visit to see live penguins. I love me some Pierre!
Mackenzie Beals
Jun 02, 2014 Mackenzie Beals rated it really liked it
Shelves: ed-689
Pierre the Penguin is a NSTA award-winning book. Jean Marzollo tells the true story of an African penguin at the California Academy of Sciences that begins to go bald. This causes Pierre to get cold and other penguins begin to avoid him. It was up to Pam the biologist to find out a way to help Pierre. This is a very heart-warming story that is told in rhyme. At the end of the book, there are a list of questions from kids with answers from Pam giving more details about Pierre.
Jul 20, 2016 Becky rated it really liked it
Written in verse, this is a story of a penguin that loses its feathers and hoe the aquatic biologist came up with a solution to help him. I probably would have rated this book with 3 stars (good story and pictures, but a few of the rhymes are slightly clunky), but my 4 year old niece has asked for it several times since being introduced to it a couple of days ago. Any book that a child wants read again and again deserves an additional star in my book.
Tina Mcconkie
May 31, 2014 Tina Mcconkie rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ed-689
This is a beautiful true story of a young African penguin named Pierre. After losing his feathers, Pierre is . unless able to swim. The other penguins start picking on him. A concern human comes up with a creative solution to Pierre's problem. The illustrations make this story charming. The thing I like best about this book is that it is a true story!
Amy Jewell
Apr 20, 2015 Amy Jewell rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
1. Penguin Cha Cha by Kristi Valiant (2013)

2. I chose this fiction book as a twin text in the non-fiction text, Pierre was left out of the other penguins for how he looked (he lost all his feathers and the other penguins at the zoo ignored him-true story!) and in Penguin Cha Cha, when a little girl (Julia) tries to dance with the penguins at the zoo, they ignore her. I thought that these books both had similar themes about treating others badly because they are different.

3. Problem and Solution

Oct 16, 2011 Shannon rated it it was ok
The story is pretty rad, and it's great to find an interesting nonfiction book with pretty accessible text. You know I will always celebrate books published by Sleeping Bear Press, because PURE MICHIGAN blood runs through my veins. The art is quite terrible. That's actually unkind and unfair -- the animals and environment are wonderful, but the art of human beings is terrible.

I want to give Pierre a hug, and Pam too, so I think this book is ultimately successful.

Also, I oved the questions at the
Margaret Welwood
May 09, 2015 Margaret Welwood rated it really liked it
That's very nice that he built a nest for his friend. --Kindergartner
It's really cute, and it's nice how she [the aquatic biologist] helps the little penguin. --Tina, nine years old
A nature lover and admirer of all things cute, Tina takes right to this story of a penguin in a wetsuit. The story has a deeper meaning as well, as the biologist and her colleague employ ingenuity and perseverance in problem solving.
I find the rhyming a bit distracting when Tina and I share the story, but it really ca
The story of Pierre the Penguin is a an interesting tale of how a human helped out an animal and made the animal thrive. Not sure if it is award nominee worthy. I found the rhyming simplistic and forced in places. And I really wasn't that impressed with the illustrations. There isn't anything really wrong with the story but it wasn't the greatest picture book I have read. 2012-13 Missouri Show Me Award Nominee.
Oct 06, 2013 Jennifer rated it liked it
The true story of Pierre the penguin and how Dr. Pam helped him is charming. Pierre's tale is told in rhyme, while cute, I found it to be a bit stilted. I would have enjoyed the book more without the rhyme scheme and I think younger children would like it without it too. I really like that it is a true story and my 8 yr old thought that was the best part. The illustrations are beautiful and extremely realistic.
Jul 02, 2012 Scarlett rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Elementary children, librarians, educators
Recommended to Scarlett by: FRA
My students found this true story to be fascinating. Recommended for: vocabulary and science lessons. While a lot of children think that penguins only live in cold regions, this book invites a study of other types of penguins and habitats. Follow-up with 'March of the Penguins' (book and/or video), 'What's in the Egg, Little Pip?', and the 'Tacky the Penguin' series.
When Pierre, a penguin who lives in a museum, loses his feathers, he does't want to swim anymore. He's cold. Then his keeper thinks of designing a wetsuit for him. It works! Pierre is warm, can swim again, and his feathers even grow back. Text is short enough for reading aloud and engaging enough (story plus it rhymes)(preschool - K).
Mary Crytzer
Oct 13, 2013 Mary Crytzer rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ch-02-nsta
This children's book is by Jean Marzollo and illustrated by Laura Regan. It is a true story of an African penguin who lost all of his feathers and not able to swim in the cold water. Aquatic biologist Pam was able to help him. I loved that the story told in rhyme because I think the book is more fun to read, and the illustrations were beautiful.
Sep 14, 2010 Marie rated it liked it
I was a little put off by the greeting card rhyming style of the text, but the true story of a penguin in a pinch who needs a wetsuit to get better is on kids will enjoy. The final page lists questions kids have asked Pam Schaller, the aquatic biologist who worked with Pierre, and her answers. Included is a link to view the penguins.
Inna Nako
Grade 1-3, Habitats of different organisms, Compare and describe animals

-this is a story based on an African penguin who lived in a museum
-he lost his feathers, so the workers had to make him a wetsuit
-the story mentions the habitats of penguins, like most penguins like ice nad cold, but not African penguins
-students can comapre different types of penguins from reading this book
Jun 23, 2013 Molly rated it it was amazing
Surprisingly educational! I thought it would just be a "fluff" kids book, like a lot are. But the words are bigger and more scientific, opening up a world of questions. "Why did the penguin lose it's feathers?" "What's 'brayed'?" "What's neoprene?" I love it!
Aug 17, 2011 Paula rated it really liked it
A great book for story time with it's rhyming text.
Rhyming text and colorful illustrations describe the efforts of aquatic biologist Pam to help Pierre, an African penguin living at the California Academy of Sciences, when he begins to go bald.
Sep 25, 2012 Linda rated it really liked it
A nice story. I'm not sure I like reading rhyming nonfiction... The Q&A at the end of the book and, especially, the link to the penguin pool at the California Academy of Sciences is great. It's nice to use a book as a springboard to field trips (even virtual ones) and learning.
Rhyming text tells the story of Pierre the Penguin who didn't grow back his feathers after molting and the aquatic biologist who created a wetsuit for him. Interesting non-fiction story with easier text for the younger ones, but will easily cause more interest in Pierre for the older.
Debbie Tanner
Mar 08, 2013 Debbie Tanner rated it it was amazing
This little book is the true story about a zookeeper that helps out a penguin with a most inventive solution. The story is told in rhyme and the pictures are gorgeous. Great story about helping others.
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Jean Marzollo is the award-winning author of over 100 books for kids, including the I SPY series, Pierre the Penguin, Help Me Learn Numbers 0-20, Soccer Sam, Happy Birthday Martin Luther King, Close Your Eyes, Mama Mama/Papa Papa, the Shanna Show books, and In 1776, as well as books for parents and teachers. She is the author/illustrator of Ten Little Christmas Presents, Ten Little Eggs, Bible ...more
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