Friday, January 17, 2014

Penguin and the Cupcake-a fun book for all ages...

This entry has had many false starts and now has taken a totally different direction.    Recently a friend became a grandfather for the third time and posted a picture of  his new granddaughter wearing an adorable knitted penguin hat which made me think of a favourite book of mine, Penguin and the Cupcake, by Ashley Spires.  I wanted to send the link and I was sure I had written about it in this blog.  Well I had but only briefly, mixed in with other books.

Now in my reincarnation as a retired teacher who likes to hang out with first graders and read to kindergarten students, I "hauled" out this book again.  It is a real go to book of mine for many reasons.  And due to my enthusiasm for it, Portia who once owned my beloved local children's bookstore long gone, Once Upon a Huckleberry, gave me the finger puppets that Ashley created that go with the story, and I have them still, of course! 

First it can be read on several levels.  There is the simple crazy story of a little penguin who finds out
about cupcakes and wants to taste them on his own as he is bored with his boring diet of krill etc.  His cousin has sent him a postcard from Florida where he has experienced cupcakes and Penguin decides to go off on his quest.  Did I mention I do like a good quest?  Since penguins can't fly he takes a plane but ends up in the North Pole instead of Florida (well they are in the same direction). There he meets a walrus and a polar bear who are not overly friendly and there are no cupcakes around.  When he finally, with great relief, is back on a plane heading south, a little old lady feels sorry for him and gives him cupcakes which he shares with his friends back in Antarctica.  But then in the bottom of the package he finds a pizza flyer, and gets new ideas...

For young children, they love the story, the penguin of course, and if I have my finger puppets they love those too.  The art is great as well.

For older children there are facts about global warming (or wierding) that go perfectly with the story.

Another reason I love it is I have factual books about penguins as well and it's great for comparing fact and fiction.  Of course I have a few more books about penguins, a larger puppet etc.  I have grown quite fond of penguins. 

Yesterday I worked with my "enrichment group" of first graders who are very competent readers and they were doing a play of Goldilocks and The Three Bears.  Their teacher had supplied us with tongue depressors, bristle board, crayons, and markers as  they were to make puppets to help perform the story.  I made one as well-Grandma Bear.  I couldn't help but notice how much the puppets helped them perform the story.  For their last theatrical effort they had worn character hat bands they had created. 

Once again I thought of the pleasure of just being with them, helping when they needed it (for example giving a model, helping with tricky cutting etc., a few simple stage directions).   Such simple pleasures are the life of a "retiree". 

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