Picture Book Weekend: 365 Penguins

The picture book is one of my favorite art forms. A good picture book has breath-taking text, the kind that you savor, word by word. Each and every word is carefully chosen and placed on the page. And the pictures. There are far too many picture book illustrations that I’d like to frame and put on my walls. I suspect my husband would object to this floor to ceiling wallpapering, because that is what it would take to capture all of the ones that have caught my heart.

I refuse to choose a favorite. There are too many styles and approaches: hilarious and tear-inducing, sweet or morbidly creepy. For me it must be, above all else, memorable.

365penguinsThis weekend’s picture book may not be a familiar one to as many people as it should be: “365 Penguins” by Jean-Luc Frometnal and Joëlle Jolivet. I have read this book dozens of times to each of my kids and it comes up in conversation even more often.

In this book, a family receives an unusual delivery on New Year’s Day: a penguin. But it doesn’t stop there. It comes with a note that says, “I’m number 1. Feed me when I’m hungry.” The next day another arrives…and then another…until the house is overrun with penguins! The penguin mystery is eventually solved, although it doesn’t necessarily solve their pet problems. But I’ll leave that for you to discover.

It is a quirky premise to start with and the illustrations are so special — bold and minimal with lots of black and white (as you would expect) with patches of orange and blue on a stark white page. But I also adore the moments when the family tries to figure out how to organize their penguins. They sort them into groups and bunches and walk through so many math problems without kids even realizing that is what they are doing.

If you haven’t seen this one, definitely check it out!

Past picture books I’ve blogged about include “The Red Book” by Barbara Lehman, “Dog Loves Drawing” by Louise Yates, and “Iggy Peck, Architect” by Andrea Beaty.

Published by Katrina Ávila Munichiello

KAM is a freelance writer, editor, and lifelong lover of books. She was the kind of kid who woke up before sunrise to read before school and her passion for books has never waned. After nearly a decade of work in public health and the non-profit sector, she became a stay-at home mom. The twelve years since have allowed her discover a new life’s ambition — writing. She published her first book “A Tea Reader: Living Life One Cup at a Time,” a collection of essays written by tea lovers around the world, in 2011, and has had articles and essays featured in outlets including Yankee Magazine and Boston Globe Sunday Magazine. She served as Senior Editor of Tea Magazine. She currently writes picture books and middle grade books and is loving every minute of making them better. She is a member of NESCBWI, Vice President of Friends of the J.V. Fletcher Library and advisor of an elementary school Newspaper Club.

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