The question this young penguin asks, ‘How High is the Sky?’, will be familiar to anyone who spends a lot of time with young children. How is such a question best answered? This picture book makes a good attempt by telling the story of Pipkin the penguin’s exhilarating fantasy journey ‘up into the blue’. First an albatross, then a balloonist and finally a passing astronaut take him to where ‘the blue turned into deep black space and silver stars shone all around’. The plentiful, repetitive dialogue helps keep up the pace and the pictures have great appeal, not least because the faces of the animals show their feelings so well.
Children soon come to understand the conventions of talking animals and fantasy journeys used in a book like this to give insight into factual information. Here the fanciful journey introduces and illuminates the concept of Space and its vastness. The splendid ‘very tall poster’, which children at home and school would want hung on the wall, takes young learners further into the world of facts with some quality information.