Perfectly Polite Penguins
Georgiana Deutsch (author) and Ekaterina Trukhan (illustrator)
Little Tiger Press: 2019
Reviewed by Viv Young
Penguins are all perfectly polite, but not Polly; she thinks being polite is boring and so she’s going to make everything a little more interesting.
This cheeky tale about one penguin who won’t follow the rules of politeness makes a clear but subtle connection between politeness and feelings. While it identifies Polly’s impoliteness as misbehaving, it also allows Polly to be the hero; she voluntarily adopts more polite behaviours when she realises her actions are causing harm to a younger penguin friend. By exploring Polly’s resistance to politeness and the reasons why she decides to change her behaviour, Deutsch and Trukhan pose a question for readers about politeness— is politeness all about the rules or about our respect and care for other people? We might all have different answers—or at least different rules— but the question is undoubtedly worth raising with young kids. While the idea is serious the story is always fun from the penguin who loves the clean-up song to the fishy snack attack food fight.
The artwork for Perfectly Polite Penguins is as clever and funny as the text. The block colour backgrounds encourage readers to focus on the penguins’ responses and minimal but repetitive clothing helps readers keep track of individual penguins and their different behaviours. The penguins themselves are hilarious; drawn slightly askew they almost appear to be waddling around the page!
This is a great book to share with kids in order to help them reflect on the very human reasons for politeness—respect and kindness.
This review has been added to our list of books about politeness.