Face to Face with Penguins
by Yva Momatiuk and John Eastcott

Price at time of review: $16.95
32 pp.
National Geographic Society
Washington, DC
ISBN: 978-1426305610

Grade Level: 3-5

Reviewed by Nancy McDonough
1st and 2nd Grade Teacher

Stunning photos and lively text written by the photographers themselves put these “funny little men in tuxedos” into a completely new perspective. The authors arrived by dinghy on South Georgia, a small island 900 miles to the north of Antarctica, to be greeted by “a group of strangers in what look like white shirts, dark jackets, and orange neck scarves,” sounding like “brass trumpets and buzzing bees.”

Readers learn about 10 different kinds of penguins. They will see amazing pictures of kings walking among southern elephant seals on the beach, gentoos rising out of the water to take quick breaths, and chinstraps diving under an iceberg to chase krill. Close-up pictures reveal surprises—a spiked tongue that prevents prey from slipping out, a treaded foot that provides friction for climbing slippery rocks, and a parent feeding two chicks simultaneously.

Rounding out this book’s complete presentation are fact boxes filled with kid-tickling information like the three colors of penguin poop and the categorization of sounds heard in “bird-to-bird conversations.” Although this book is recommended for grades 3 to 5, I read it aloud to my second graders who shared my captivation and delight. Many were eager to reread it on their own, which is the best endorsement this outstanding book can get. Many books in this series, including this one, have won the NSTA/CBC Outstanding Science Trade Book award.

Review posted on 2/18/2010

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