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A Penguin Story

3.91  ·  Rating details ·  1,491 ratings  ·  169 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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3.91  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,491 ratings  ·  169 reviews

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Nov 28, 2008 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
Jan 01, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Readers Who Appreciate Visually Engrossing Picture-Books / Young Penguin Lovers
Living in a world of white ice, black night, and blue sea, Edna the penguin knows that "there must be something else." But what? When she stumbles upon a bright orange research station near her Antarctic home - something that is not white, not black, not blue, and definitely not lunch - she knows she's found it. Or has she...?

Chosen by The New York Times as one of the "Best Illustrated Children’s Books of 2009," Antoinette Portis' A Penguin Story is a visually arresting title, with a simple pale
Lisa Vegan
Nov 12, 2009 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
Nancy Kotkin
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. Edna will burrow her way into your heart.

A story that seems deceptively simple on the surface, but contains layers. Extremely satisfying, even on subsequent readings.

Iconic art style is effective for the story. Limited color palette of white, black, blue, and orange matches the text. The illustrations help to build the relationships among t
Jan 04, 2017 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.
Amy Layton
Nov 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picturebooks
A Penguin Story is a tale that describes the joys of exploring and questioning and finally being rewarded with answers and new experiences.  As Edna searches for a color different than the three she's always known, she makes a choice between the unknown and social standards.  And when she does find that new color, she celebrates with her friends, and she goes looking for the next exciting thing.  Overall, this is a solidly inspiring book for children that affirms the notion that their questions ...more
Oct 25, 2010 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.
Evie Sweet
Sep 27, 2015 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.
Feb 28, 2017 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.
Nov 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
There was once a penguin who is bored with all of the things that she has already seen. The penguin world feels very limited to her and she yearns for "something new". Something that isn't white, or black, or blue. She sets off in-search and travels far but lo and behold, there is another color! She speeds (as fast as a penguin can) back to the colony and together they retrace her steps and discover--wait for it--a red tent! Other explorers are in the arctic. Edna, our little penguin, keeps a wi ...more
Jul 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: edli200
Categories/Genres for this class fulfilled by this book: Tumblebook, Picture Book, Fiction
Copyright Date: December 23, 2008
Age Level: 4-8 year old
Reading Level: PreK-3rd Grade
Brief Description: A penguin only knows three colors in her landscape. She wonders if there are others and sets out on a mission to try and discover more colors.
Identify at least 2 characteristics of this genre and subgenre and discuss how they appear in your book: The reader gave excitement and curiosity to the story. The
Aug 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
It’s all about perception, but not just seeing what you notice but noticing what you are looking for. The title of A Penguin Story gives you no hint where it is going, and that makes the reading more pleasing. The illustrations and managing the color palette and placement of text are skillfully achieved, with emotions easily communicated. It is also a nice touch to have penguins interacting with humans rather than another animal species. But this mostly a book to enjoy experiencing rather than t ...more
Jan 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018
The penguins are cute (as penguins usually are!) and I love the idea of one named Edna. The story starts a little slowly, but once she gets exploring, the kids were catching on that there was something out there to find.
Also, having a science background myself, I loved the scientists bringing color to her world (now, who's on the green boat?).
Great for storytimes on penguins (obviously), exploring/searching/discovery, or colors. Since we did colors last week for storytime, the kids picked right
Feb 26, 2018 rated it liked it
3.5 stars -- This was a really cool, nicely presented little story about a penguin who goes out searching for some color in her life. It's a reminder that we all need novelty and challenges to shake us up once in awhile. Very cute with a storyline that brings to mind a Pixar short.

Veg*n parents note: The penguins catch and eat fish at different points in the story. (Whole fish and fish skeletons are shown.)
Michelle Matash
I did not enjoy this book very much. I think it could be benefical for children to understand the habitat that penguins live in, but it was too repetative and didn't give much information about penguins. It didn't have an exciting plot. It may be interesting for children but I just didn't love it. I probably won't use this text in my future classroom.
Meg McGregor
Apr 25, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: lexi-victoria
Lexi and Victoria thought this book was terrific!

Me, not so much!

The premise is charming and little Edna is so adorable!

So, the girls convinced me to give the book three stars!

Of course, being that the penguin is one of our two favorite birds, that wasn't too hard!

By the way, the owl is our second favorite bird!
Mar 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
Edna the penguin is tired of black, white, and blue. Everything she sees is black, white, and blue! Though the other penguins don't understand, she sets off to find something of a different color.
A cute story with simple illustrations, but a fantastic penguin book for storytime. Easily converts to a flannel board story if you need more variety.
Feb 28, 2019 rated it liked it
I like this book because Edna looks for something not-black, not-white, not-blue, and finds [spoiler alert] orange, it was a different color orange than usual, not like an orange peel, it's like that orange that's under that other layer.
Nov 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Penguins are my favorite animal, so I’m a bit biased in liking this book. I liked the illustrations and thought it had a good ending. I think I might buy it for my two-year-old niece for Xmas this year...
Feb 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
Edna is convinced that there is more to the world than what’s around her. She goes on a quest and makes an exciting discovery. Another brilliant book from Antoinette Portis - seemingly simple, yet surprisingly powerful.
Jan 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
A cute story about a penguin not giving up until they find something new in her world. It's a great lesson and the bold colors will keep kids interested until they're old enough to appreciate the story itself.
Annie Payne
Feb 03, 2017 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 08, 2018 rated it liked it
I have mixed feelings about this one. I don't love the overall concept or the beginning portion of the book but I really like the ending, especially the two-page spread of all of the penguins outside of the research tent. A possibility for storytime.
Oct 06, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: picture-books
That's all? This book was a bit disappointing. I felt the story was a little abrupt in regards to the part about the scientists. Even my little one was confused. No explanation and no elaboration on what, who, and why they were there.
Patricia McLaughlin
Apr 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
Clever illustrations and satisfying story of a penguin’s quest for novelty amidst banality
Maggie Ignasiak
Oct 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
This is a great book about discovery, and also, penguins are adorable.
Alyssa Tabor
Nov 19, 2018 rated it it was ok
A bit of a stretch, but might work for storytime.
Jul 11, 2017 rated it liked it
An easy read (DRA 8) with themes of color, searching, perseverance.
Donna Mork
Aug 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: colors
Cute simple story about 4 colors.
Robin Webb
Jan 15, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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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.