The Second Sky

Eerdmans. Mar. 2019. 32p. Tr $17. ISBN 9780802855206.
PreS-Gr 2–Gilbert, a newborn penguin, knows exactly where he wants to be after hatching from his egg: up, up, and further up. His big, clumsy feet and small wings do not deter him, and he knows that if he keeps trying, he will ultimately find a way. Inspired by a gliding albatross, he realizes that he has been flapping too hard and simply needs to spread his wings, as the bigger bird does, and soar. Instead of up, however, Gilbert stumbles down, where he discovers that he has the unique ability to launch himself along the water instead of air. The underlying message about overcoming obstacles and achieving one’s dreams is clearly represented in simple, poetic prose. Bentley’s splashy watercolors vividly capture Gilbert’s launch within an underwater paradise. While Helen Lester’s Tacky the Penguin features far sillier penguin antics, Guest’s work presents more factual content.
VERDICT This top-notch picture book features a lovable main character and demonstrates that penguins can indeed fly. Recommended for wide purchase.

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