Cover image for Little penguins
Little penguins

First edition.
Physical Description:
1 volume (unnumbered pages) : color illustrations ; 23 x 29 cm
Reading Level:
170 L Lexile
Added Author:
"During the first snowy day of winter, five little penguins bundle up and venture outside to play"--


Material Type
Call Number
Item Available
Book EASY RYL 1 1
Book EASY RYL 0 1
Book EASY RYL 0 1
Book EASY RYL 0 1
Book EASY RYL 0 3
Book EASY RYL 0 1

On Order



Newbery Medal-winning author Cynthia Rylant and Caldecott Honor-winning illustrator Christian Robinson pair up to tell this wintry story about five little penguins enjoying a snowy day.

Snowflakes? Many snowflakes. Winter is coming. So begins this ever-so-simple story. As the snow starts to fall, the excited penguins pull out scarves, mittens, heavy socks, and boots, and Mama helps them bundle up. But when it's time to go out, one timid penguin decides to stay home. Filled with waddling baby penguins, playful text, and delightful illustrations, this book feels like a young picture-book classic in the making.

Author Notes

Cynthia Rylant was born on June 6, 1954 in Hopewell, Virginia. She attended and received degrees at Morris Harvey College, Marshall University, and Kent State University.

Rylant worked as an English professor and at the children's department of a public library, where she first discovered her love of children's literature.

She has written more than 100 children's books in English and Spanish, including works of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. Her novel Missing May won the 1993 Newbery Medal and A Fine White Dust was a 1987 Newbery Honor book. Rylant wrote A Kindness, Soda Jerk, and A Couple of Kooks and Other Stories, which were named as Best Book for Young Adults. When I was Young in the Mountains and The Relatives Came won the Caldecott Award.

She has many popular picture books series, including Henry and Mudge, Mr. Putter and Tabby and High-Rise Private Eyes. (Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 6

School Library Journal Review

PreS-Donning mittens, scarves, and boots, five little penguins ready themselves for a romp in the snow, then return inside to prepare for bed, with guidance from Mama. Robinson's utterly enchanting acrylic and collage illustrations, relying on blocky shapes, pair splendidly with Rylant's straightforward yet enthusiastic text, conveying the pure joy of a winter excursion as well as the simple pleasure of the familiar bedtime routine. © Copyright 2016. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publisher's Weekly Review

Five small penguins and their mother chill out in this playful, minimalist approach to winter. Rylant (the Mr. Putter and Tabby books) supplies only a few words per spread as the pointy-beaked penguins peek out of their blue-green igloo: "Snowflakes? Many snowflakes. Winter is coming!" The penguins call and respond as they gear up: "Mittens? Many mittens. And matching scarves. Socks? One for each foot!" Outfitted individually in red, blue, green, and white, four of the five sled and stomp until their mother and cautious yellow-scarfed sibling-sliding on their bellies-come out to collect them. Caldecott Honor-winner Robinson (Last Stop on Market Street) illustrates in cut paper and simple strokes of acrylic, envisioning the silhouette-black penguins as birdlike toddlers (or toddler-like birds). His snowflakes are shreds of white scattered on shades of blue, and captivating endpapers show walruses, a whale, gulls, and other wildlife. Visually and thematically reminiscent of Ezra Jack Keats's beloved The Snowy Day, Rylant and Robinson's story warmly celebrates a parent's attentive presence amid an enticing winter backdrop. Ages 3-7. Agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. (Oct.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Horn Book Review

It's winter, and five little penguins living in an igloo joyfully bundle up and head out for a glorious day of sledding--until Mama comes to fetch them and bring them home for cocoa, cookies, and bed. Wonderfully tactile acrylic and cut-paper collage illustrations paired with a spare, evocative text capture the siblings' idyllic day. (c) Copyright 2017. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Kirkus Review

Winter is here.Five little penguins who live in an igloo with their mother are very excited. They see snowflakes, which means its winter, so naturally, its time to go outside. Imaginative and lovable illustrations of acrylic and cut-paper collage show the curious young birds as they dress up in their mittens, scarves, socks, and boots and head out into the very deep snow; children will easily identify with their mounting excitement. Minimal text makes this a very good choice for toddlers and other young listeners while leaving room for counting and giggling, and the mixture of make-believe and realistic detail works nicely, creating a winsome world full of gentle adventure. But wait, whats happened to Mama? Shes watching over them from close by, of course, and soon its time for five little penguins to come in out of the cold, shed their winter gear, and have some cookies and sippies before burrowing into their inviting beds. Robinsons penguins are created from elemental shapes: large circles form their heads, and then beaks, bodies, wings, and flippers in triangles of various sizes make up the rest of them. The combination of clarity, simplicity, warmth, light humor, and striking visuals makes this an excellent tale for the very young. A very warm and satisfying bedtime book and a paean to penguins and winter delights. (Picture book. 1-5) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Booklist Review

*Starred Review* Caldecott Honor winners Rylant and Robinson collaborate in this visually stunning depiction of winter in Antarctica, but it's really about winter fun anywhere. Five silhouetted penguins are intrigued by the many snowflakes they see through the window of their igloo their clue that winter is coming. They excitedly dig through the winter clothes basket, selecting different colored mittens and scarves to match. Then socks. Then boots. Out they go to sled and stomach-slide into the deep snow, until Mama comes to rescue them. Then . . . off go scarves, boots, socks, and mittens. Now jammies, warm cookies, and sippies before they wrap up tight to watch the night. The simple text uses only one or two words on a page, and each double-page, full-bleed spread shows the action. Done in acrylic paint and cut-paper collage, the background of warm winter hues in deep blue and stark white sparkles with touches of colorful detail. The penguins' playroom and bureau and snuggly beds are familiar environments for little ones. Young children will have fun matching the Arctic animals on the end papers and the colored accessories of the little birds as they go about their winter fun. Pair with Ezra Jack Keats' classic The Snowy Day.--Gepson, Lolly Copyright 2016 Booklist

New York Review of Books Review

"SNOW," WRITES THE British environmental artist Andy Goldsworthy, who creates ephemeral sculpture from snowballs and ice, "provokes responses that reach right back to childhood." For all but the most jaded, a coating of the white stuff is enough to make our familiar world look tantalizingly new and strange again, much as children experience it 24/7. No wonder classic picture-book artists like Ezra Jack Keats ("The Snowy Day") and William Steig ("Brave Irene") found inspiration in wintry weather, as do more than a few writers and illustrators for children working today. "First Snow," the Korean illustrator Bomi Park's debut picture book, is an assured and enchanting fantasy that reveals fresh secrets with each page turn. The cozy cover image of a wide-eyed toddler playing outdoors in the snow hardly hints at the dreamlike adventure to follow, in which the little girl rolls an everlarger snowball through village streets, past farm fields, and finally deep into the forest. There the narrative - carried forward in a few words and Park's meticulously observed, soft-focus illustrations - takes first one unexpected and altogether magical turn, then another, and another. What appears at the start to be a quiet little story proves in the end to be just the opposite: an inviting springboard to make-believe. While for Park a snowy landscape is a winter wonderland not to be missed, "Before Morning" makes the case that home is the place to be when the temperature plummets. Joyce Sidman voices a wish well known to schoolchildren: the dream scenario of a snowfall deep enough to keep everyone housebound. A keenly perceptive poet, Sidman shows that words and snow both have the power to transform our view of things: "Let the air turn to feathers, / the earth turn to sugar, / and all that is heavy/turn light." In an author's note, she explains that her 66-word lyric is an "invocation," a kind of secular prayer or spell that "invites something to happen." It was up to the illustrator Beth Krommes, the winner of the 2009 Caldecott Medal for "The House in the Night," to decide just what that "something" should be. Krommes is a master of scratchboard art, an exacting line technique that entails cutting into the black over-layer of a prepared surface to the white layer below to create a shimmering black-on-white image to which other colors can then be added. The visual back story Krommes has imagined for "Before Morning" takes us inside the comfortably cluttered home of a close-knit family. The mom we see there is a commercial airline pilot who is getting ready for work. Her young daughter, we realize, wishes that her mother would instead stay home with her. Love of family, Krommes suggests, may be one good reason to wish for a blizzard. The kinetic line-work of her rigorously stylized illustrations has almost the impact of a second back story, ft implies that the family vignette we've glimpsed is a small but integral part of a much larger narrative in which people, trees, cities, blizzards and the world at large are all entwined in one continuous living web. The elfin Antarctic dwellers of "Little Penguins" are a lot like preschoolers you may know: They savor the excitement of a good outdoor winter frolic, then, having had their fill of the cold, delight equally in the warmth and safety of home, which in their case is a nicely furnished igloo. Cynthia Rylant, winner of the 1993 Newbery Medal for "Missing May," is an exceptionally versatile writer who, here donning her best poker face, has mapped the high points of the penguins' eventful day in a few, fun-to-read-aloud words. Christian Robinson's lighthearted illustrations overlay childlike cut-paper characters on softly tinted backgrounds that burst into bright primary colors when the little birds finally scurry indoors to warm their webbed feet. Winter weather can of course also turn treacherous. A woolly mammoth with a biblical name is the beating heart of "Samson in the Snow," Philip C. Stead's exquisitely poised and tender fable about friendship in extreme circumstances. Built to withstand the fiercest blizzard, longhaired Samson is a gentle giant in the Ferdinand/ Horton mold who, for all his impressive physical heft and strength, feels a sharp need for companionship. The options in his neck of the tundra are apparently quite limited, however, and before long we see him befriending a little red bird and a mouse. When a storm hits, true-blue Samson not only worries about the fate of these vulnerable creatures, but also goes to great lengths to safeguard them. Like some sort of ice age Aesop, he concludes, "ft is better to walk than to worry." Together with his wife, Erin E. Stead (with whom he collaborated on the 2011 Caldecott Medal book "A Sick Day for Amos McGee"), Stead has been in the forefront of illustrators to respond to the preponderance of pixilated images by reembracing the handmade look and feel of picture books. He draws Samson here in a vigorous gestural style while rendering the landscapes through which the big guy lumbers in mood-mirroring expanses of richly hued and textured pastels. He adds an occasional rough-hewed cardboard print (something like a potato print) of a snowflake as a homey, but perfectly placed, decorative element. No creature - or artisanal flake - is too small to care about. Stead leaves the reader with much to ponder, not least if you consider that his unflappable mammoth's real-world counterparts went extinct millenniums ago and that the Old Testament superhero whose name he bears was betrayed by the woman he loved. Are readers to wonder whether earthly friendship is just as transitory? Stead and Samson are rather alike in their determination to leave as little to chance as possible, and in their view that good fellowship - like good bookmaking - is an art to be tended down to the last detail. A better gloss of Stead's fable might be : What's a little blizzard between friends? Let it snow. LEONARD S. MARCUS'S books include "Golden Legacy," "Margaret Wise Brown: Awakened by the Moon" and, most recently, "Comics Confidential."