How did I miss fairy penguins? It totally bums me out that I went so many years without knowing about a penguin with such a fanciful name. But now that I know…I’ve been looking at them on Google images all day – in between classes, of course!
I learned about them through Frank Viva’s new picture book, A Trip to the Bottom of the World with Mouse. I bought Viva’s book based solely on how much I loved Viva’s debut picture book, Along a Long Road, one of the New York Times Best Illustrated Books of 2011. This new one features a junior explorer and his friend, Mouse. During a trip to Antarctica, the two friends meet a whale, go swimming and see….fairy penguins! When I saw the little blue drawing, I thought maybe it was a vision from Viva’s imagination, but no. They exist. According to Wikipedia, Little Penguins (the real name which is not as magical) are the smallest species of penguin, and they live on the coasts of Australia and New Zealand.
A Trip to the Bottom of the World is part of the Toon series of comic book-style picture books. The illustrations are bold and beautifully designed. It’s a nice book just to look at.
The fairy penguins in the book are really cute, but here’s a picture of what they actually look like – in case you’re planning a trip to Australia:
One other thing….if you have time, this month’s edition of The Atlantic, includes a fascinating article by Ann Patchett about opening Parnassus, her independent bookstore in Nashville. Here’s a link to the story.