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Exploring is more fun than going to bed

Seven Little Penguins

Françoise Beck & Herman van de Wijdeven

It’s bedtime for seven young penguins, but they don’t fancy going to sleep at all. They want to play in the snow. When a red thread twirls past, their curiosity is piqued. They follow the thread, but it’s too fast for them. It moves across ice floes and mountains and over and through the water. When a monstrous octopus suddenly appears, the red thread comes in handy.

Finally, somebody tugs at the thread and the penguins end up slipping and sliding back to their mum. All this time she had been busy knitting a beautiful dream for her brood out of an enormous ball of red yarn. ‘Seven Little Penguins’ follows the classic home-away-home pattern, in which the young protagonists set off on an adventure and taste freedom, before returning safely home.

A wonderful little book to read at bedtime

The strength of this book lies in its mixed-media illustrations in soft and jolly pastel shades. Beck manages to make her illustrations surprisingly dynamic and expressive, even though the penguins are represented by stamps and therefore only silhouettes. The thread is intriguing throughout and the panoramic landscape dreamy. The rhyming text has a great rhythm and is suitably minimalist. ‘Seven Little Penguins’ is a playful, accessible book to read at bedtime to adventurous and curious minds. Wide-awake toddlers everywhere will recognize themselves in this book!  

It is fun to spot the little details that make the story.