PPBF: Penguin and Pinecone

Penguin and Pinecone
Written and illustrated by Salina Yoon
Bloomsbury USA Children’s Books, $12.99, Ages 3 and up penguinBrief Synopsis: When a tiny penguin in a vast snowy flatland discovers an unfamiliar object, he investigates it thoroughly.  It is too brown to be a snowball, too crunchy to be food, and too prickly to be an egg.  When it shivers and utters “Brrr!” the tenderhearted Penguin quickly knits up a cozy orange scarf just like his own to keep his new friend warm.

Penguin and Pinecone become the best of friends, sledding (“Whoosh!”) and playing (“Wheee!”) and swimming (“Achoo!”).  The sneeze worries Penguin. Is Pinecone sick? When Penguin learns that his bristly buddy belongs in a forest, they embark on an journey to bring Pinecone home.  Penguin builds a soft pine needle nest for his friend, encircles him in a heart-shaped ring of stones, and spells out a special message in branches before saying goodbye.

As the years pass, Penguin thinks of Pinecone often, wondering if his friend has indeed grown big and strong.  In my favorite passage from the book, Penguin imagines being engulfed in the strong embrace of an enormous, larger than life Pinecone.

Yoon’s illustrations are thickly outlined yet crisp, and her simple but deep color palette works beautifully.  A nice mix of single plane, double spread and montage images pace the storyline perfectly through an interesting mix of perspectives. I especially love a full page spread of a  scarf-swathed pinecone,  as contrasted with a tiny Penguin approaching the large evergreen forest. Best of all, the simple yet precise text rings true with child-like emotion.  “Penguin and Pinecone may have been far apart, but they always stayed in each other’s hearts.”

Links To Resources:
Make an origami penguin

Try this fun penguin balloon craft

Stage a penguin and pinecone puppet show after creating paper bag penguin puppets

Don’t miss Joanna Marple’s marvelous interview with Salina Yoon here

Perfect Picture Book Fridays are the creation of the children’s book author Susanna Leonard Hill. Susanna maintains a complete list (alphabetically and by theme) of all reviews with new books being added every Friday. It’s a wonderful resource if you’re looking for book activities or books with a particular theme.

Portions of this review first appeared in the February 2015 issue of North Shore Children & Families. Read your copy online here!


About Cathy Ballou Mealey

Children's book author, repped by Liza Fleissig of the Liza Royce Agency. Wife, mother, daughter, sister, alumna, autism advocate, book reviewer. Reach me via email at cmealey@post.harvard.edu or Twitter @catballoumealey
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45 Responses to PPBF: Penguin and Pinecone

  1. rnewman504 says:

    Cathy, A great pick for pre-Valentine’s Day reading!

  2. Penguin is too adorable! Salina does such perfect illustrations and sweet stories.

  3. clarbojahn says:

    AAww! Sounds so sweet! Just like a wonderful Valentine’s Day book. Thanks for introducing it to us. (And you sound just like an illustrator talking about the illustrations. 🙂 )

    Happy Valentine’s Day!

  4. Sue Heavenrich says:

    I am definitely putting this one on my “to read” list… actually going to library website right now to put it on reserve! What a cute book!

  5. What a sweet find. An unlikely pairing, makes it even more intriguing for kids. I remember Joanna’s interview with Salina Yoon and admire her work.

  6. Aw. But someone should get that bird a teddy bear. Much cuddlier.

  7. This sounds absolutely charming. Thanks for telling me about it.

  8. Thanks to you I’m in love with Penguin. I mentioned the other day that right now we are a split household. I am on #TeamPenguin while Enzo is hopelessly in love and on #TeamBlip from Tap to Play. Did you see the cute Valentine’s Salina shared recently? Totally should have used those than making Valentines. Hope you have a wonderful weekend.

  9. Perfect sweet for Valentine’s!

  10. Sue Wang says:

    Sweetness throughout. I love the illustration -simple, colorful, penguin’s nurturing…:) The kind of friendship we all love. Mawh on pre-Valentine’s Day.

  11. LovableLobo says:

    Salina’s books are just precious! Thanks for sharing, Cathy.

  12. Awww…. so adorable. What a beautiful find. Thank you.

  13. Wendy says:

    Love this one! Friendship books are the best. Salina does it so well.

  14. Heather Dent says:

    My brother would love this book. He LOVES penguins!

  15. tinamcho says:

    I have yet to read this series by Salina, and they look so darling!

  16. I’ve seen this one! I really admire Salina Yoon and love to read about her process. Thanks.

  17. Aw! Such a perfect choice for Valentines Day! I love this book – how cute is that penguin???!!! 🙂 Thanks for sharing, Cathy!

  18. I do love this Penguin and his pinecone!!! PERFECT pick for today!! 🙂

  19. Aw…what a touching story! I want to read this!

  20. This is such a cute book! Salina Yoon is amazing. I love the paperbag puppet…adorable!

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