Vulpes Libris

A collective of bibliophiles talking about books. Book Fox (vulpes libris): small bibliovorous mammal of overactive imagination and uncommonly large bookshop expenses. Habitat: anywhere the rustle of pages can be heard.

Penguin Love!

So, the countdown to Christmas has officially begun…the John Lewis Christmas Advert has been released! And I think this is the best yet. As you’ll all know I have a very severe crying problem and this just about broke me. Penguin love. Awww…

So, I figured the best way to deal with my emotional breakdown was to find some lovely penguin themed books to share with you. The John Lewis website are totally on the ball this year and have produced merchandise, apps, interactive stuff and a book of their own about Monty and Mabel, called Monty’s Christmas. (They also have some spectacularly expensive plush penguins which have sold out…although it seems you can buy them on ebay for the same price as a small country!)

Lost and Found by Oliver Jeffers

Oliver Jeffers never disappoints.This multi-award winning picture book has also been made into a stunning animation and is just so absolutely perfect in every way.

A boy answers his door bell to find a penguin. The boy decides the penguin is lost and that he will help him get home to the South Pole. Adventures ensue.

The illustrations are so beautifully understated and simple. The story filled with warmth and friendship. It’s superb.

Penguin by Polly Dunbar

Another award winner, but a very different sort of penguin story. This Penguin is bright and animated and noisy with riotous colours and a slightly surreal (and perhaps shocking) ending. It is a huge amount of fun to read aloud and to animate with loads of opportunities to join in with actions. Penguin refuses to talk and Ben becomes more and more frustrated going to increasing lengths to get Penguin to say something. Very colourful and funny.

Penguin in Peril by Helen Hancocks

pipspreadOh I love this book! It’s really just as much fun for grown ups as it is for the kids.

Three cats are very hungry but instead of buying food they spend their money going to the cinema where they get the idea of kidnapping a penguin to do some fish stealing for them.

This is a total riot! Even the illustrations are gloriously mad. The cats are cunning, but the penguin is super cool and outwits them at every stage. Really, everyone should read this crime caper!

The Penguin Who Wanted to Find Out by Jill Tomlinson

For slightly older children, this fabulous story by Jill Tomlinson is sure to be a winner. It’s part of her Favourite Animal Tales series of books which have been firm favourites since the 1960’s and include the classic, The Owl Who Was Afraid of the Dark. Otto and his friends face danger and peril every day growing up as penguins.

This story has a lot of fascinating penguin facts merged with a heart-warming tale of friendship. A wonderful story that children will adore.

And pretty much that is where penguin tales end as far as I am aware. Beyond the age of about five, no one tells stories about penguins. There are a few fact books for children and they appear in guide books and photography books. But it seems penguins in books is reserved for the very small. All that may change though if the the reaction to the John Lewis advert has anything to do with it…it seems, everyone loves a penguin!

About Eve Harvey

Eve Harvey is a bookaholic. She is forever to be found with her nose in a book. If there are none around then newspapers, magazines, the back of cereal packets, road signs or the tiny washing labels found on the seams of jumpers will do. Eve used to have full time job as a children's bookseller and she was the very first Waterstone's Children's Expert Bookseller in Scotland. Her first love was definitely literature for children and teens, about which she has nerd-level knowledge. However she has since become involved in grown-up books and has co-written her first adult novel with Cath Murphy. Eve and Cath Podcast, blog and have far too much fun on their website Domestic Hell. Eve lives in a field just outside Edinburgh in Scotland with her daughter and son and two dogs and two rabbits. She also has some tanks of tropical fish and vows one day to start up a marine aquarium. And the day she signs her very first publishing deal she is going to celebrate by buying a pair of Horsefields tortoises. You can find Eve through her Agent, Ella Kahn at DKW Literary Agency. She's also on Twitter or on her website :

4 comments on “Penguin Love!

  1. Margaret Jones
    November 8, 2014

    No-one tells stories about penguins beyond the age of five? What about the wonderful Death and the penguin series by Andrey Kurkov? They’re brilliant.

  2. Pingback: Coming up on Vulpes Libris … | Vulpes Libris

  3. Hilary
    November 10, 2014

    Oh, I love all these! I wish I were five again. I’ll just have to pretend….

  4. Jackie
    November 11, 2014

    What a great idea for a post about one of the most amusing animals around. That commercial is WONDERFUL!
    I had no idea there were so many books out there about penguins. I’m used to seeing them in the natural history section, but I’m glad there’s so many for kids, though it would be hard to choose a best one, as they all look good with illustrations in such different styles.
    This was a terrific post!

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This entry was posted on November 8, 2014 by in Entries by Eve, Fiction: children's.



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  • (The header image is from Aesop's Fables, illustrated by Francis Barlow (1666), and appears courtesy of the Digital and Multimedia Center at the Michigan State University Libraries.)
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