Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Tacky the Penguin

Tacky the Penguin

Helen Lester
Illustrator:   Lynn Munsinger 
Picture Book  Series
For ages 4 to 7
Houghton Mifflin, 2008   ISBN: 978-0547133447

Tacky was a penguin who lived in "a nice icy land" full of icebergs and freezing water. Tacky was not at all like the other penguins because he would not bow politely as a greeting, he would not march neatly, he was not a "graceful" diver, and his singing was quite hideous. Because of this, the elegant penguins really did not have a lot of time for Tacky. He was an "odd bird" who wasn't their sort.

Then the penguins heard the heavy footfalls of hunters. Terrified out of their wits, the elegant penguins hid behind a block of ice. The hunters were looking for "pretty penguins" that they would round up and then sell "for a dollar." Tacky did not run away. Instead he stood his ground and waited for the hunters to get to him.

Without a doubt Tacky is one of the funniest bird book characters around. He is completely unlike his companions with his loud flowered shirt, his decidedly pudgy physique, and his uniquely unpenguin-like way of doing things, and for this reason young readers will think he is absolutely wonderful. Tacky, in his own special way, shows children that there is nothing wrong with being different.

With Helen Lester's delightfully funny text, and Lynn Munsinger's humorous illustrations, this is a board book that children will want to come back to again and again.