Title: The Emperor’s Egg
Author: Martin Jenkins
Illustrator: Jane Chapman
Publisher: Walker Books
Genre: Children’s picture book, Non-fiction, Nature
Book format: Paperback
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Description: Can you imagine being a male emperor penguin and standing around in the freezing cold with an egg on your feet for two months?  Welcome to the story of the world’s most devoted dad!

*Free copy provided by publisher as part of the ‘Nature Storybooks: Every Wonderful Word is True’ collection, for review…

Review:  I’ve really enjoyed reading this book. ‘The Emperor’s Egg’ is a fun picture book, wider than A4 in size but shorter, it’s filled with thick glossy pages of very colourful illustrations and text. The book has a very fun feel to it while also being educational and gives kids a great introduction to these lovely birds.

The Emperor's Egg book page image one
©The Strawberry Post

The first page of the book gives a brief description of a penguin’s life, before the start of the actual story of the book. Although this book is part of the Nature Storybooks collection it’s a non-fiction book. It has a story about the emperor penguin but this is told with facts and is sort of like a documentary you’d see on television. I really love the way the ‘story’ unfolds in this book and the way the author writes it. It starts by explaining about Antarctica, how cold and remote the place is before showing us the only creature that lives some of the time so far south in the Antarctic, the emperor penguin. It then goes on to show the male emperor looking after his egg and the tough life he has to go through looking after the egg and the later hatched chick until the female comes to care for it.

The story is quite simple but what I really love about this particular author is how they’ve managed to make the reader feel so engaged. Rather than just stating facts about these creatures the author asks us questions, to imagine how it would be or how miserable we’d feel if we couldn’t eat for two whole months. There’s something about this style and the overall writing which I really enjoy as it helps kids to understand it more and I also really like this style as it’s very funny at times, especially when the mother finally returns.

The illustrations are wonderful. Each page is filled with colour and I love the purple blue background of Antarctica. The pictures of the penguins look realistic, you can even see the individual feathers in some illustrations and I just love the way the penguins look. The pictures really do make the book more appealing to read and I can’t help but look at this again and again just to see the pictures.

This book has a great introduction to the story of what happens with emperor penguins and the laying and hatching of their chicks. Although quite basic it’s a great book for kids especially those who don’t know much about penguins as it makes you like these animals more. The back of the book has a page with notes to teachers and parents about using the book with kids and it supports Key Stages 1-2 of Science and English too so is both a great learning resource to use at home and at school.

The Emperor's Egg book page image two
©The Strawberry Post

I’d definitely recommend this book to anyone who wants to get their kids interested in animals of for those who have kids that are already interested in animals. This particular book has such a fun feel to it and even though it doesn’t go into details of raising the chick to adulthood, it is more than enough of an introduction to this amazing bird.

-Review for appeared online January 2018 – now republished here.

Do you like penguins?  What about nature books like this?  What other animals do you or your children like?