The Polka-Dotted Penguin
Written by Amy Moy
This adorable book is written with some key ideas that set it apart from other “fitting in” type stories. The story begins with the fathers all holding their baby eggs, just like they do in real life. The other fathers mention the difference they see in the spotted egg but don’t make it a big deal, just a small curiosity. When the new little penguin is born from her dotted egg she is still a penguin, rather than some other sort of “misplaced egg” that would be similar to so many other stories. Instead this little penguin just has some differences, but is still the same type of bird. The reason this matters would be that when explaining differences to children the differences don’t have to be so extreme, as a differing species, for someone or something to still be different “enough”. When the little Penguin, named Dottie goes to school and plays with the other children, they don’t just laugh and ask why she is different. Instead they treat her just like they treat all the other penguins, since being different doesn’t mean she needed different treatment. The approach the author took in treating the different penguin was very realistic and completely acceptable and appropriate for children.
The author also used many well known titled stories in this story, changing the titles just enough to suit sea-life type stories. This is a great tool for opening discussion with little ones about how even different “people” know the same stories many children are familiar with.
I give this story four out of five stars for its realistic approach to dealing with differences. Many important aspects were touched upon but not over exaggerated. The story leaves many opportunities for conversation about being different and treating others who are different. It is a clever take on a popular topic with just enough dissimilar qualities to make it a must-read to little ones.