Penguins are arguably the cutest member of the bird family! A new book by author Catherine Barr titled ‘10 reasons to love … a penguin‘, will tell you why penguins are so incredible. And because penguins are amazing (and cute to boot!) there are many wonderful children’s picture books featuring penguins to choose from. But I will start with one of my old favourites and two new ones …



by Polly Dunbar

Penguin has been given to Ben as a gift. Ben can’t wait to play with his new friend. But Penguin can’t speak which makes Ben cross. So cross, that Ben fires Penguin into outer space tied to a rocket. And when that doesn’t work he tries to feed Penguin to a passing blue lion. What the lion does is both surprising and very funny. Fortunately for Ben, Penguin is a loyal and heroic friend. I can’t recommend this award winning picture book enough and I love reading it out loud at Storytime! With vibrant illustrations full of personality and an imaginative story, this book is entertaining, engaging and thought provoking.


What’s Up Top?

by Marc Martin

Who doesn’t enjoy a good mystery? And What’s Up Top? with its creative and clever use of interactive and imaginative elements is as good a mystery as any! While the main character of this picture book is a cute little penguin, we don’t meet our curious penguin friend until right near the end. Here we learn that he doesn’t climb ladders and is not good with heights. Thus we are left guessing what might be up the top of a ladder! I loved this book from the moment I picked it up and well before I knew it had been listed as a Notable title by the Children’s Book Council of Australia for Early Childhood Book of the Year 2018 and Picture Book of the Year 2018. Written in simple rhyme, which is great to read aloud, the story is fun, funny, silly, engaging and entertaining. This simple, yet very effective picture book is perfect for Storytime and for sparking the imaginations of children everywhere.

The Second Sky

by Patrick Guest; illustrated by Jonathan Bentley

This is the heart-warming story of a little penguin with big dreams. We meet Gilbert the penguin chick as he hatches from his egg. The first thing Gilbert sees is the sky and then seabirds flying and soaring overhead. And Gilbert wants to fly too. While Gilbert longs to go ‘up, up, up’ into the sky like the albatross, what he discovers, after tumbling into the ocean, is that ‘down, down, down’ in the deep waters of ‘the second sky’ is a place where he can fly. And dive and soar and glide. There is a lesson to be learned about accepting our limitations and finding our own place in the world. There is much to love about this beautiful picture book, from its captivating illustrations, to its endearing main character, subtle humour and engaging story. The Second Sky has been shortlisted by the Children’s Book Council of Australia for the 2018 Early Childhood Book of the Year.


A Song or Two

Two Little Penguins

Two little penguins,

Sitting on the snow.

One named Flo.

And one named Joe.

Waddle away Flo.

Waddle away Joe.

Come back Flo.

Come back Joe.

Waddling Penguins

Penguins, penguins having fun.

Waddling in the winter sun.

Waddling fast and waddling slow.

Waddling to and waddling fro.

Penguins, penguins having fun.

Waddling in the winter sun.

A Crafty Idea

Let’s make a cute penguin puppet using a plastic spoon!

Craft monster face made from a paper plate with feathers stuck on as sort of hair

You will need:

  • A plastic spoon
  • Black card
  • Orange card
  • Wiggly eyes
  • Scissors
  • Tape
  • Glue
  • Stanley knife


  1. Cut an egg shape and two wings from the black card.
  2. Cut out a beak (triangle shape) and feet (heart shape) from the orange card.
  3. Using the Stanley knife cut a small slit near the bottom centre of the egg shape for the handle of the plastic spoon to fit through.
  4. Glue the wings and feet to the back of your black penguin body.
  5. Slide the plastic spoon into the slit on the body with the bottom of the spoon facing forward. The rounded bump of the spoon becomes the penguin’s white belly.
  6. Glue on the beak and wiggly eyes.

You might like to make two penguin puppets and act out the rhyme ‘Two Little Penguins’ (above) or you could even make a family of penguins and use them as props to act out a story.

Did You Know?

There is an amazing little handmade book (handmade from recycled materials) about a fairy penguin. Fish by Jane Stadermann has been listed by The Children’s Book Council of Australia as a Notable title for Picture Book of the Year 2018. The author lives just over the bridge from a protected breeding colony of fairy penguins at Manly wharf in Sydney. The book is beautifully illustrated and I enjoyed the story too. The main character of the story, Little Penguin, has a very lucky day. He narrowly escapes being eaten by a mighty shark, hitches a ride on a boy’s surfboard and gets a delicious fish to eat. Little penguins, or fairy penguins as they are commonly known as in Australia, are the smallest species of penguin in the world.

And Remember

Reading for pleasure is the most important indicator of the future success of a child. Happy reading!