In the far south, a new baby penguin is born into a penguin colony: but he’s blue. Something that astounds his fellow penguins who ask, ‘Are you a real penguin?’ The youngster is able to perform the usual penguin type activities such as diving and jumping tolerably well and he is an excellent fisher. However, the others are puzzled by him and he’s soon left shunned, feeling empty and lonely with just his night-time dreams for company. Company of a kind though, comes night after night into one of those dreams, in the form of a white whale, a beautiful creature that takes Blue Penguin far, far from his lonely place. Then each morning the penguin sings a song, sending it far out across the ocean to the whale.
When another penguin hears this song, she’s drawn ever closer towards it until she is able to ask of Blue Penguin, ‘Teach me your song?’ He does and the two become friends, singing and playing together. After some time Blue Penguin thinks it’s time for them to learn a new song; it’s a song whose magical quality draws in the other penguins from the colony and they too want to learn it.
Then comes the arrival of a huge white whale: that too has heard the song and come in response to its call. Blue Penguin is now faced with a dilemma: new song or old song? Should he go with his dreamtime whale friend or stay with Little Penguin, his new friend?
Petr Horáček’s wonderful, magical story with its insiders/outsides theme is a timely one, coming as it does in a year when, with the refugees from Syria arriving and one hopes finding a real welcome in the UK, the message is particularly important. My abiding hope is that Blue Penguin’s song can reach everyone the world over at this troubled time. I’d like to see a copy in every home and classroom.