Penguinaut by M. Colleen

  • Erika Metcalfe


Colleen, Marcie. Penguinaut. Scholastic, 2018.

In the book Penguinaut, Marcie Colleen uses the story of a hopeful penguin to convey a message about adversity to young children. It is a story about a small penguin named Orville who overcomes challenges in order to achieve his big dream of going to space.

Emma Yarlett’s illustrations are creative, entertaining, and fun. They help the reader understand just how small little Orville is in comparison to all of his other animal friends, reinforcing the idea that one should not be afraid of failure when achieving their dreams, despite any challenges they may face.

It is evident that Marcie Colleen decided to use the style of text, paired with the illustrations, to help add enthusiasm, detail, and voice. The words “big” and “bigger” are in large capital letters, and sound effects are bolded. Speech bubbles are used for dialogue instead of quotation marks. The sentence “He was all alone” is accompanied by an illustration of stars in the dark outer space. And a picture of a note given to Orville by his friends to show their support is written in handwriting, including a hand-drawn picture.

Penguinaut is a heart-warming book that offers lessons about adversity, resiliency, and friendship. Considering the length of the book, I believe there is room to explore these topics by including some additional detail to the story of Orville, the penguin. The messages this book conveys makes Penguinaut a good addition to an elementary school or public library.

Recommended: 3 out of 4 stars
Reviewer: Erika Metcalfe

Erika is a grade one/two teacher in Edmonton and is currently completing her Master of Education at the University of Alberta. When she is not teaching or studying, Erika is on the hunt for new books to read to her students!

How to Cite
Metcalfe, E. (2019). Penguinaut by M. Colleen. The Deakin Review of Children’s Literature, 8(4).
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