The Penguin of Ilha Grande
Shannon Earle, author
Shannon Earle makes time to write between teaching kids outdoors, parenting her three daughters, and preparing piles of vegetables from her family's urban homestead in Takoma Park, MD. She has visited Brazil several times, including Ilha Grande, where this story takes place. This is her first book.
Read more about Shannon.
Renato Alarcão, illustrator
Renato Alarcão has been an illustrator since he was a child, logging his first paying freelance job at age nine. He has a master's degree from the School of Visual Arts in New York City and teaches art. Renato is the illustrator of Soccer Star, Roberto's Trip to the Top, and Finding the Music/En pos de la música. He lives in a coastal town across the bay from Rio de Janeiro with his wife Rosa and their two sons. Renato has visited Ilha Grande a few times, and he wishes he were as good in the water as a penguin.
Read more about Renato.
- Coming soon!
A true and tender tale that celebrates the lasting bond that forms between a small penguin in dire straits and the man who rescued him.
One day in May, Seu João finds an oil-soaked Magellanic penguin on the beach at Praia Provetá and takes him home to clean him up. He assumes the bird won’t hesitate to return to the ocean, but even when fully recovered, Dindim, as he’s dubbed, has different ideas. The two—one a shin-high poppet clad in formal black and white in Alarcão’s pastel-hued illustrations, the other a light-skinned elder aglow with wrinkled benevolence—become constant companions…until, one hot day the following February, Dindim begins to molt and, around the time of Carnaval, doesn’t come back from his accustomed swim. But then, four months later, he waddles back out of the ocean to touch his bill to a delighted Seu João’s nose, and so continues an annual pattern that goes on for seven years. In group scenes the illustrator populates the warm and sandy Brazilian setting with multihued local children in animated poses and, though he portrays Dindim with plenty of personality, resists the temptation to anthropomorphize his feathered subject. Earle expands a closing note on the real Dindim with remarks about Magellanic penguins in general and environmental and other threats to them.
An episode with a strong sense of place awash in humor and heart. (glossary) (Informational picture book. 6-8)
As Seu João takes his morning walk along the beach, he discovers a penguin covered in oil. He takes the bird home, cleans him up, feeds him some sardines, and eventually brings him to the ocean to release him back into the wild. Instead of swimming away, the penguin, now called Dindim, continues to follow Seu João. For seven years, the two spend many days together. This story celebrates the beautiful bond between a man and a Magellanic penguin. Playful illustrations show readers the deep friendship between Seu João and Dindim in the bright landscape of Ilha Grande. Earle weaves connections not only between man and penguin, but between them and their island and the ocean as well. Following the story, Earle includes a section about what happened to Dindim after the story's end, as well as information about Magellanic penguins, threats to their livelihood, and conservation. All in all, this is a well-crafted, heartwarming story of a man's inexplicable bond with a bird, and a great resource for a conservation study. Recommended.
Page count: 32
10 5/8 x 8 11/16