Monday, May 19, 2014
by Estelle Billon Spagnol
32 pages; ages 3-6
Holiday House, 2014
"One sunny say, a penguin and a rabbit fell in love." So begins this cute tale of a young chick - no... the first thing to emerge from the egg is a long ear. Followed by another long ear and a fuzzy little body, two penguin feet, and a fluff of a tail.
Little Benguin is, to put it bluntly, unusual. So unusual that other kids are afraid to play with him. Sometimes Little Benguin loves being his own unique self. Other times he doesn't like being different and wants to be "normal" - a desire some parents hear a lot from their kids who just happen to be a bit different.
Then one day a big bad wolf arrives - and Little Benguin uses his diverse talents to escape - and, in the process, just happens to save all the other kids from becoming wolf snacks. Some reviewers have leveled harsh criticisms at this book for it's "dated plant and animal breeding stereotypes" and underlying message that those who are different have to prove their worth to those who are "normal".
Me? I think this book is just plain fun. For one thing - a bunny that hatches from a penguin egg might explain a lot to kids who still wonder why Easter bunnies deliver eggs and peeps - something I have yet to figure out. Besides, where do those folks think gryphons come from? Review copy provided by publisher.