Lloyd Spencer Davis, Waddle: A Book of Fun For Penguin Lovers, Exisle Publishing, March 2019, 160 pp., RRP $29.99 (pbk), ISBN 9781925335910
This book is lovely to look at, but the text was disappointing. Waddle brings together a wonderful collection of photographs of penguins, standing, feeding, diving and swimming. There’s penguin families and penguin babies and different types of penguins too. Many of the images feature amazing backdrops – snow and ice and hundreds more penguins – and each picture covers a full page, giving it space to sing.
There’s a charming introduction to the book that talks about human’s affinity and affection for penguins and their cute waddling way of walking. It includes some interesting facts about penguins, and references to penguins in popular culture. But I was disappointed the book didn’t include more of the same, particularly given it was compiled by New Zealand penguin expert Professor Lloyd Spencer Davis. Instead of any insightful observations about penguins, each photo is paired with a seemingly random quote about penguins (by a seemingly random person) designed to “put a grin on your face and warmth in your heart”.
Perhaps I just didn’t get it, or the journalist in me needs to know what’s going on in the photo, but I would have preferred words explaining what the penguins pictured were doing, an interesting fact or insight into their behaviour or, at the very least, the name of the penguin species pictured.
Given this website is predominantly about children’s books, I think it’s important to note that some of the quotes are quite adult in nature, making this a book that’s not appropriate for children (unless they’re unable to read and are just looking at the pictures).
Reviewed by Carissa Mason