It’s getting late and young Sam waits for this dad to come home from work and tell him a bedtime story. Just in time there is Dad; he’s a brilliant teller of stories especially those about dinosaurs with superpowers. Tonight though, slightly put out at nearly missing a story altogether, Sam doesn’t want a Captain Triceratops story, instead he leaves the choice to his dad. Dad proceeds to tell him a story of Papa Penguin, no superpowers, just an account of a male emperor penguin left in charge of an egg while the mother penguin goes off for weeks to hunt for fish. Papa Penguin keeps the egg warm, nestled on his feet as he endures weeks of freezing blizzards and hunger until at last, the egg hatches. Out comes a chick, a beautiful baby male chick. Mama then returns allowing Papa Penguin to go off and catch fish. Sam loves the story and as he starts falling asleep requests more of same the following evening.
There follows a double spread giving an illustrated factual account of the whole process, highlighting the role played by the male emperor penguin in Antarctica, thus cleverly combining story and reality with some mirroring of the caring and protection done by human dads and penguins.
Despite the chilly setting of dad’s story, Momoko Abe’s retro-style illustrations have a warmth to them in both the choice of colour palette and the human father/son relationship.
Gently educational and a delightful read aloud.