Reviews of Peanut the Penguin
As a work of fiction, this picture book offers a tender story about a young penguin, Peanut, who possesses a special talent that is eventually cherished by his colony. The dynamic between Peanut and his mother are pivotal in that they present understanding and empathy between parent and child.
The illustrations created in acrylic medium are “primitive” in the best sense, and use the most recognizable colors and species’ structure for a child’s view of penguins.
Touted by the publisher for ages 3-8, it will have a special appeal to younger children and enhance understanding as the art reinforces the text rather than expanding it. Using many of the traditional picture book design components, akin to the “Little Golden Books” series, the text often stands alone but at times is integrated with Lepore’s pictures that fill a page.
While references implied or direct regarding facts about penguins are omitted, it is the whimsical story line that is front and center for Aruna Lepore, a new author.
Tina Hudak, Consulting Librarian and Book Artist, Pyramid Atlantic Art Center, University of Maryland College Park, MD & Cielo Contreras
A sweet, uplifting children’s story, beautifully illustrated by its author, Aruna M. Lepore.
As a preschool teacher and director for over 20 years, I am a huge fan of children’s literature. "Peanut the Penguin" includes all the aspects I look for in an endearing children’s book: a sweet story with adorable characters, beautiful illustrations, and an uplifting message.
Peanut is a sweet little penguin with a very special gift— he can sing! Why couldn’t the penguin community appreciate Peanut’s talent? Peanut likes to sing at night. With a little guidance from his mother, Peanut is able to find the right place and time to sing, bringing comfort to the penguin chicks and appreciation from penguin parents.
Brenda Hayes-Artim, Retired Preschool Teacher and Director
This is an outstanding story of a little penguin named Peanut. The story evokes deep humanity and above all
extraordinary compassion, understanding and consideration for others...enabling them to be a unified
and happy society.
The author, Aruna, shows skills both as a brilliant writer and expressive illustrator.
As a teacher of children from varying nationalities and spanning a wide range of abilities, I can truly recommend
this delightful book not only to young children but it should also be included on the shelves of
Junior school libraries and public libraries.
Hafiza Seesahai, BA, BEd ( Hons), MA, England
“Peanut the Penguin” by Aruna M. Lepore is a heartwarming story with wonderful messages for children and parents. Peanut, with his parents’ encouragement, learns how to stay true to himself while being kind and considerate of others. He finds a way to continue his singing passion while respecting the wishes of his penguin neighbors.
Peanut’s parents model a parenting style that builds attachment, trust, and confidence. The story conveys the importance of being in tune with a child’s feelings, listening to their concerns, and helping them create solutions that are win-win for all involved.
I know it will be a favorite bedtime story and everyone will love Ms. Lepore’s beautiful illustrations.
Kristin A. Altar, MS, BSN, CRNP-PMH, Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner
This book is a very creative and warm-hearted picture book with beautiful illustrations and a sweet story line that makes it enjoyable for everyone. I’m looking forward to reading it to my grandchildren and to seeing more great stories from this author!
Joan Weible, Retired Third Grade Teacher, former Smith Elementary School, Akron, Ohio
The themes of being unique, letting your talents shine, acceptance, and family support came through in a beautiful way. I found myself staring at the scenery several times. It is mesmerizing and it made me feel like I was right there with the characters.
I am in awe!
Heather Farrell Down, First Grade Teacher, GPES
Peanut the penguin lives on a rocky, sandy shore with his family and a lot of other penguins. He loves doing what all the other little penguins do, including playing games and swimming. However, he has one difference. Peanut has a penchant for singing and “his songs were sweet melodies of whistles, unlike any ever heard.”
The dilemma is that he loves to sing at night—and this keeps all the other penguins awake. When the other penguins become annoyed with Peanut, he becomes disheartened and not quite himself. With encouragement from his family—especially his mother, who offers her support and guidance—he figures out a way to share his talent as well as keep all the other penguins happy.
Debut author Aruna M. Lepore takes us on a character journey in which Peanut overcomes adversity and perseveres to be able to share his gift. Lush illustrations with aqua seascapes, verdant shores, and magenta sunsets—provide a rich backdrop to the story. The details in the scenery and emotive expressions of the penguins, especially Peanut, allow the reader to feel along with him, through his difficulties and ultimate triumph. Young readers will empathize the everyday challenges they may face when they have their own unique traits.
The tale is a call to celebrate our differences, which makes us stronger not just as individuals, but as communities. The story balances how young people can be their authentic selves along with how they can compromise with members of a community. A much-needed salve for kids—and parents—as we face and overcome the challenges of our pandemic year.
The Garrett Bugle
I love children’s books that teach social and emotional lessons and this story was no exception. It had valuable life lessons about sharing your talents but also that there is a time and place for everything. Everyone has a unique gift they can use to make the world a better place and everyone should be appreciated and respected for their individual abilities. I also loved the underlying theme about finding and using your voice and standing up for yourself and what you believe in.
Lepore has crafted a delightful tale about this little penguin’s journey to discover how to share his gift. Her illustrations are hand painted, looking a bit like oil pastels, and are vivid and vibrant. They also have a cartoonish feel to them that children will enjoy. It was very cute and visually appealing.
This was a quick and easy read that could be read as a bedtime story by a family or would also make the perfect addition to a classroom as a read aloud by a teacher. It is a book that is not for a beginning reader but would be a perfect independent reading book for a upper level first or second grade reader.
A delightful read.
Daniele Kasper, REEDSY Discovery