The Polka-Dotted Penguin
Amy Moy (author) Rami (illustrator)
Independently Published (2021)
Reviewed by Lydia (age 7) for Reader Views Kids (12/2021)
“The Polka-Dotted Penguin” is a story about a baby penguin who is born different. When all of the daddy penguins are sitting with their penguin eggs, one daddy’s egg has polka dots on it! The other daddies think there might be something wrong with the egg, but the one daddy doesn’t think anything’s wrong. All of the daddies sit on the eggs until they hatch, and then the mommy penguins come back from wherever they are to meet their babies. Mommy and daddy’s baby penguin hatches and still has spots on her – they’re on her head! Mommy and daddy name her “Dottie.” The other penguins are still not sure what to think of Dottie, but her parents don’t think she’s any different from the other penguins. Not too long later, the other penguins agree that Dottie is like them, except a little smaller and needs a little more help with some things sometimes.
I like this book because it teaches people to be nice to others, even when they may want to say something mean about another person. I like that the mommy and daddy penguin didn’t ever think that anything was wrong with Dottie, even when she looked different and had a harder time doing certain things. If Dottie’s parents would have not been nice to her, I wouldn’t like this book so much. I like that Dottie’s parents helped other penguins to know how to act around Dottie when they may have felt scared or not sure when they first met her. I like looking at the pictures in the book because they are calm; I also like the pages in the story when they talk about the books “We’re Going on a Fish Hunt” and “The Very Hungry Whale.” Kids of any age will like this book and be able to understand it.
A Note from Mom: I appreciate the positive message that Amy Moy presents in “The Polka-Dotted Penguin.” Being different in any way – physically, mentally, spiritually can cause stress on everyone close to the “different” person. Reading about Moy’s background, the book makes complete sense and is certainly needed in our society of expecting everyone to fit into one mold of appearance and thought.
I love how the beginning of the story is a sweet interaction between a mother and child, creating a bonding experience while teaching a powerful life lesson. I don’t know if kids would completely relate to the parent penguins in the book, but for parents reading this to their kids, it offers a worthwhile lesson and reminder that we are our children’s biggest advocates in life, especially growing up. The references to “We’re Going on a Fish Hunt ” and “The Very Hungry Whale” didn’t go unnoticed, since these are some of Lydia’s favorite books (the original versions, of course). I am happy to know of “The Polka-Dotted Penguin” as another resource for this sensitive topic as well as an enjoyable book for kids of all ages.
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