Snow is on the forecast for our area, and we are diving into winter learning about ice, snow, and some of the animals that live in super cold environments like penguins. These ten picture books about penguins are fun storytime books for preschool because each has a specific lesson, penguin facts, or special message. Check out this list of penguin books for preschool, and as always, if you don’t see your favorite here, let me know in comments.
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Penguins, Penguins, Everywhere! by Bob Barner is a fun rhyming book filled with simple facts about penguins. Toddlers love the bold illustrations, and I really liked the facts about penguins that sparks a desire to learn more about the animal. That is one of my favorite things about non-fiction books like this that look like stories, and they plant seeds of interest that can be launched into more in-depth inquiry. Great book for preschool through Kindergarten.
Polar Bear Island by Lindsay Bonilla is a fantastic book. Sent to me by the publisher, this book is a kid-friendly look at immigration, innovation, and what it means to be inclusive. I absolutely love this book because it doesn’t shame Kirby the polar bear for being against change, it accepts that change is hard but also wonderful.
Penguinaut by Marcie Colleen was sent to me by the publisher, and I am so glad it was. It’s such a sweet story about thinking outside of the box, about having dreams bigger than anyone lets you have, and persistence! Also, how goofy is a penguin in space? If you want to teach your students that anything is possible, to read this book to them.
Penguin by Polly Dunbar was an unexpected delight! The book started with Ben, who got a penguin as a gift, but no matter what he did, he got no reaction from his penguin. Finally, as happens with young kids, Ben loses it, has a temper tantrum, and a lion eats him. Yes, I said a lion eats him. My son, who was about 3 when we first read this book, loved it. He howled with laughter, and don’t worry, in the end, it’s happy so nightmares are unlikely if you read this before bed. I loved the rhythm of this book, and the simple illustrations were a perfect fit. Big thumbs up from kid and parent on this one!
The Emperor’s Egg by Martin Jenkins is a good nonfiction book written like a story about penguins and more specifically about how the father penguin is the parent who cares for the egg. The illustrations in the book are lovely and will likely appeal to younger children as well as the target 4-6-year-olds audience that the text is geared towards. I have used this in a Pre K class, and by the end of the year, the children were ready and able to sit and pay attention to the whole book. I like using this book for younger students at free choice instead of storytime.
My Penguin Osbert by Elizabeth Cody Kimmel. In this story, a little boy writes to Santa and asks for a peculiar gift, a real live penguin! It is not long before he realizes that a real live penguin is not as much fun as he thought it would be. He is very responsible, though, and sacrifices a lot for Osbert. He is thankful to Santa for getting his gift precisely right. He writes a follow-up letter explaining how it would be ok if Santa sent a replacement.
Tacky the Penguin by Helen Lester is such a cute and funny story, and your students will love it! Tacky is an odd bird, but when hunters come to get some pretty penguins, his ridiculous odd ways turn off the hunters and saves Tacky and his entirely not odd companions. This is a sweet look at being different and being happy as pie about being different. It’s a great example of confidence and self- esteem as well as a way for children that do fit in see that it’s OK to step out of the lines from time to time.
And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson is a much-debated book. It’s the true story of two male penguins in Central Park Zoo who didn’t have any interest in the girl penguins but liked each other a whole lot. When the zookeepers noticed that they were in every way a matched pair, they also noticed that they prepared for a baby just like the other penguins. Time after time, they were sad until the zookeepers gave them an egg to take care of. Just like all families, love and care are what matters when creating a family. Because of that love baby, Tango and his two daddy penguins have thrived. I think it’s a great book not only to explain how all families are different but also how love and care are really what makes a family, even for penguins.
Penguin Dreams by Vivian Walsh is a crazy trip of a book. My kiddos and I loved it, but it wasn’t at all what I expected. I am not sure what I expected, but I’ll summarize it. The story is an inside look at one penguin’s dream. He dreams he can fly, and readers follow along as he flies through his witty and offbeat dream. I loved thinking about whether or not penguins even dream, and that thought sparked a long conversation. It’s fun, it’s weird, and it’s perfect for creative imagination-driven kids.
Little Penguin’s Tale by Audrey Wood is a funny cautionary tale about a curious and wild penguin. When the story almost ends in doom and gloom, the narrator changes the end a little bit, so the readers and other little penguins aren’t too sad. Still, the message is clear that you can’t ignore the rules without some consequences!
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