The Emperor's Egg (Read and Wonder)

by Martin Jenkins (Author) Jane Chapman (Illustrator)

The Emperor's Egg (Read and Wonder)
Reading Level: 2nd − 3rd Grade
Series: Read and Wonder

"Students who are wild about penguins and classrooms doing units on them will find The Emperor's Egg an action-packed read."-- School Library Journal

Can you imagine spending the winter outdoors in Antarctica without anything at all to eat? That's just what the male Emperor penguin does. While his mate is off swimming in the ocean and catching loads of fish, he stands around in the freezing cold with an egg on his feet for two whole months, keeping it warm and waiting for it to hatch. This charming, oversize picture book is full of fabulous facts about nature's most devoted dad. Back matter includes an index.

Select format:

More books in the series - See All

Other series you might like

Publisher's Weekly

After Chapman (One Duck Stuck) lures readers with an irresistible cover image of a baby emperor penguin, the author documents the unusual role of the father in the birthing of this winning subject. Emperor penguins make their home in Antarctica, "the coldest, windiest place on Earth." During the region's chilliest season, a female penguin lays one egg and leaves her mate to incubate it; he rests the egg atop his feet, so that his feathery white belly keeps it toasty. "What's more, there's nothing for the father penguin to eat on land.... So that means two whole months with an egg on your feet and no dinner!" Chapman provides naturalistic acrylics of the frozen environment, against cold violet or warm orange backdrops. The blue-white ice and sky offset the charcoal feathers and buttercup-yellow breasts of the birds. Jenkins presents abundant penguin facts in the same conversational voice of Chameleons Are Cool but without the child narrator he used to such strong effect. Yet he achieves a similar tone, for instance, while speculating that the male penguin must be "very, very miserable" as it awaits the egg's hatching and the mother bird's return. Together with artwork that balances realistic details with the penguins' implicit charm, Jenkins's lively text will attract many readers to this tale of one of nature's unique parenting arrangements. Ages 5-8. (Oct.)

School Library Journal

K-Gr 3 Martin Jenkins's book (Candlewick, 1999) relates the story of how, after the female penguin lays her egg and goes back to the sea, the male Emperor penguin is responsible for keeping it warm and safe for two months until it hatches. Shortly after the chick arrives, the female returns to feed and care for the baby. The lively text and Jane Chapman's wonderful illustrations will enthrall youngsters. The CD features three tracks: a competently and pleasantly narrated version with sound effects, a read-along version with page-turn signals, and a segment that includes more details about Emperor penguins. This nature story offers abundant penguin facts and can supplement a polar region unit, be paired with "The March of the Penguins" film as well as other recently released books about penguins, and be enjoyed in a listening center.—Stephanie Farnlacher, Trace Crossings Elementary School, Hoover, AL 

Copyright 2008 Media Source Inc. Used with permission.

Review quotes

Martin Jenkins
Martin Jenkins first saw chameleons in Madagascar and, he says, "fell in love with them at first sight. I picked one up, ever so gently, and it promptly bit me on the thumb. I still think they are wonderful, but tend to leave them alone whenever I bump into them."

Sue Shields had to develop a new way of painting for Chameleons Are Cool, "to try to describe not only the chameleons' astonishing colors, but also the hint of the colors they can change into."
Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Candlewick Press (MA)
Publication date
July 28, 2003
Read and Wonder
BISAC categories
JUV000000 - Juvenile Fiction | General
Library of Congress categories
Parental behavior in animals
Habits and behavior
Emperor penguin
Oversize books

Subscribe to our delicious e-newsletter!