Some are born to run; little Penguin believes he was "hatched to fly." That's why he's come all the way from the South Pole (via a bright red motorboat) to attend a tropical shoreline flight school run for birds by birds. "I have the soul of an eagle," he announces to the skeptical staff. Penguin soon discovers that zoology is destiny, no matter how nifty his red aviator goggles or how eager his new friends are to help get him aloft, which they manage to do, albeit momentarily, thanks to some engineering worthy of MacGyver. Up until the very final pages--in which Penguin returns to the flight school accompanied by a much larger friend whose aerodynamic potential is similarly problematic--the action has the tight comic pacing of a classic cartoon, one with heart to match Penguin's own. Judge (Red Hat), working in watercolor and pencil, takes her hero into the sun-bleached sky and into the drink (oops) with aplomb, while her finely delineated feathered cast does its endearing best to ignore the obvious. Agent: Linda Pratt, Wernick & Pratt. Ages 4-8. (Apr.)Copyright 2014 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.
K-Gr 2—Little Penguin, who has the self-proclaimed "soul of an eagle," wants to fly. Steering his motorboat into a dockside flight school for birds, he announces to the other feathery students and teacher that "[he] was hatched to fly." Teacher and Flamingo are unconvinced, but they allow Little Penguin to take lessons anyway. Outfitted with goofy red googles, Little Penguin certainly has the will, if not the talent. Even after practicing for weeks and enthusiastically jumping off the dock with a loud "Geronimo!" he still flops deep into the ocean instead of soaring above. Brokenhearted, he sets sail for home. But then Flamingo has an idea. Tying feathers and a fishing line onto Little Penguin, Flamingo helps lift him skyward while Little Penguin does his best to "Flip, flap, flip, flap, flap." Soon, he soars as he had always dreamed of doing. Alas, it doesn't last. Unfortunately, even with the soul of an eagle, "he still has the body of a little round penguin." Nevertheless, his dream achieved, Little Penguin leaves flight school one happy little bird. So happy, in fact, that he soon returns with another friend with his own dreams of flying-an ostrich with the "soul of a swallow." Judge successfully balances the humor in the storytelling, the drawings, and the situations. Rendered in watercolor and pencil and situated on a bright yellow background, the illustrations perfectly fit this delightful and charming book.—Roxanne Burg, Orange County Public Library, CACopyright 2014 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.