Penguin Fun: Crafts and Books

aaaTrip to the Library

What child doesn’t like penguins? And now that’s it is cold outside we are reading and doing more indoor crafts. So, this week I borrowed books from the library about penguins and we made some penguins from different shapes cut out from colored construction paper. Read the books to the kids then let them paste together penguins from different shapes. If you care for little kids cut out the shapes for them. For preschool and older children, let the kids trace shapes and then cut them out with safety scissors themselves. Let them paste the different colored shapes. Also, here is a great link with tons of learning penguin activities to do with kids from worksheets, coloring pages, mazes, songs and poems, and puzzles to print out at home.

I’ve listed some of my favorite children’s books about penguins below roughly listed in order of age from youngest to oldest child.

Cuddly Dudley

Dudley is so lovely and cuddly that his brothers and sisters just can’t leave him alone – even when he wants some time to himself. So Dudley sets off alone across the tundra, until he discovers that maybe being with friends – and being incredibly cuddly – isn’t so bad after all.

The Emperor’s Egg: Read and Wonder

Can you imagine spending a freezing cold Antarctic winter outside, with no food for miles around–maybe even a hundred miles? This is what the male emperor penguin does. After his mate has laid her egg, she takes off for the ocean where she swims about, getting plump on squid and fish, while Papa stands around keeping the egg warm for two entire months! Martin Jenkins’s remarkable picture book about an extraordinary bird is sure to be an immediate favorite with children of all ages. In a compelling example of truth being stranger than fiction, he tells the story of the unusual habits of this largest of the penguin family (there are 17 kinds!). Jenkins’s enthusiastic fascination for this polar phenomenon comes through loud and clear in his changeable font sizes and humorous personal asides (“So that means two whole months with an egg on your feet and no dinner! Or breakfast or lunch or snacks. I don’t know about you but I’d be very, very miserable.”) Jane Chapman’s fantastic, realistic illustrations of the penguins will make readers chuckle, just as they would at the zoo upon seeing the real thing. Don’t miss this book–it’s wonderful!

Tacky the Penguin

My five-year-old charge and her friends loves this book. It’s great for early elementary school aged children. Tacky the Penguin is a total nonconformist who lives with a group of formal, proper penguins. But it is Tacky who foils the plans of three hunters looking for penguins to sell. With his un-penguin-like antics, Tacky puzzles the hunters to such an extent that they’re firmly convinced they cannot be in the “land of the pretty penguins.” This tale clearly shows that there are advantages to being an individual.


I love Gail Gibbons books. The simply written, clear text describes penguin physiology, geographic location, lifestyles, and nesting/brooding habits. It concludes with a discussion of survival difficulties and efforts being made to protect these birds. A final page gives some statistics and drawings of the five species not shown elsewhere in the book. The full-color illustrations are sketchbook style and some children may find it difficult to differentiate among the various crested varieties, while the little blue penguin is shown as blue all over (despite assurance in the text that “All penguins have…white bellies.”). This is a great book for kids in grades 2 through 4.

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