A Penguin's Quest

Children - Picture Book
40 Pages
Reviewed on 12/05/2021
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers' Favorite

“Everything that is possible now seemed impossible before someone figured out a way to make it possible.” Have you ever seen a penguin fly? Do you think it can? Ingrid is a penguin living in Antarctica. All she dreams about is flying, but the other penguins keep telling her that penguins can’t fly. After a chance meeting with a couple of pigeons from New York, she learns of a place where she can learn to fly. The only problem is that she needs to find a way to get there. Ingrid is not a penguin who gives up, and, once she finally reaches New York City, she follows her journey to a place where she can learn to fly – well, at least she believes she can. And that’s all that matters in life: pursuing what we believe in and believing in ourselves.

Scott McDermott’s picture book story, A Penguin’s Quest, is all about believing and the determination to follow a dream no matter how difficult it might appear. The author weaves a clever plot around fascinating details about penguins. With colorful illustrations that clearly depict the plot’s development, this story will enthrall young readers of all ages. Ingrid, the penguin protagonist, is a dreamer, but she’s also a penguin with a determined streak that will lead her toward achieving her goals. The message is clear: follow your dreams, work hard, and never give up. Along her journey, Ingrid meets other creatures, both those who fly and those who don’t, and makes friends that help her achieve her destination and ultimate goal. This is a powerful and engaging story that will both teach and entertain. Loved it.

Francis Mont

A Penguin’s Quest, written by Scott McDermott and illustrated by Christine Anderson, is the story of Ingrid, a young penguin who lives with her parents in a crowded penguin colony in Antarctica. She is almost fully grown and ready to begin adult life on her own, but she has one great, impossible dream that she cannot leave behind with her childhood. It is, of course, the dream of flying. No other penguins take her seriously, until a pair of lost big-city pigeons land on their shores. Ingrid befriends the lost tourists and helps them out. In return, the pigeons direct her to someone of their acquaintance who might be able to teach her to fly. Ingrid then undertakes a long, exciting, and perilous journey in quest of her dream. She sails on ships, walks on asphalt along crowded streets, and rides railway trains through the big city and wild countryside, seeing all manner of new things. Along the way, she meets and receives assistance from humans, birds, and rodents. At last, she meets a man in a red suit who can help her achieve that impossible dream. But not by the kind of magic you think! What she learns, she brings back to her colony to share with all the penguins.

I enjoyed this book, from one surprise to the next, from beginning to end. I spent much longer looking at it than reading it: both black and white sketches and the gently, subtly-colored paintings by Christine Anderson are worth studying in detail. I was particularly charmed by the pigeons, though the rats deserve a nod, too. The story by Scott McDermott is engaging, with deft characterization and low-key humor. There is just enough impossibility to keep the reader’s disbelief suspended, without taking off into fantasy. There is enough text for a young reader to get involved and improve reading skills in language mature enough to present a few surmountable challenges. The story is rich in interest, information, and life lessons, leavened with just enough wonder. In brief, the second-best thing about this book is the fine balance of its elements. The best thing about it is the ending. I can recommend A Penguin’s Quest by Scott McDermott to anyone who knows a curious child – or just likes penguins and enjoys a good story.

Foluso Falaye

Ingrid the penguin dreams of one day flying like the birds in the sky. Unfortunately, Ingrid's wings are not like most other birds', which is why the other penguins find her idea ridiculous. However, Ingrid receives words of encouragement from her parents, and when she meets two pigeons from a faraway place, she renews her hopes of flying. The two pigeons, Lenny and Sue, inform Ingrid of a place in New York where penguins could learn to fly. Thus, an excited Ingrid embarks on a journey and a path that leads to a Ski Jumping Complex with nothing but a feather from Lenny to find her way. Join Ingrid, the ambitious penguin, on a colorful, adventurous journey as she follows her dream to fly and experience something different from what the other penguins are used to in A Penguin's Quest by Scott McDermott.

A Penguin's Quest is such an adorable story that it made me feel like a child again with its cute and funny choice of language and words, like "penguin traffic" and "Ms. Penguin Lady". It is perfect for children as it contains several beautiful pictures that depict the story as it develops, simple and easily understandable language, and messages that align with their early stage in life. Scott McDermott's book depicts what following one's dreams entails in a way a child can understand—preparing them for the future and telling them to dare to be different. Ingrid receives both support and ridicule, doubts herself and her unrealistic goal, and learns the importance of not backing down in the face of difficulties. As it is entertaining, motivational, and educational, A Penguin's Quest is highly recommended for your children. It's easy to love this endearing picture book!