A penguin tries out various methods of getting toasty before settling on the warmest way of all—a hug with a friend.
Dapperly topped with a black derby hat, the smudgy, delicately lined avian stands out handsomely against a marbled, icy-blue background, looking miserably cold. Eager to solve the frosty problem, the penguin poses short, direct “what if” questions and then experiments with those ideas, a perfect call-and-answer format for young listeners to predict and problem-solve. Some attempts, such as knitting a fashionable red scarf, don’t quite bring the heat, while others, notably building a fire directly on the ice, have unpleasant, watery consequences. The eventual solution, in which the protagonist and another penguin inch closer together over the course of several page turns until they cross the gutter and hug will make everyone feel “warm and snuggly.” Throughout, von Kitzing masterfully uses scale and perspective to create drama, from the extreme close-up of an exhausted penguin collapsed after ice-skating, defeated and “still chilly,” to the unexpected plunge through the melted ice that causes the bird to break the bottom edge of the frame. Small details such as the dotted-pink cheeks that appear on both penguins’ faces during their embrace make the minimalist art feel rich and full.
A cozy little charmer. (Board book. 1-4)