My Penguin Osbert by Elizabeth Cody Kimmel is a story that will make children smile, connect, and wonder. The theme fits the holiday season – children making their wish lists. I especially like the letter writing feature that begins the story. A young boy, Joe, is writing his letter to Santa asking for a specific present. Joe shares that he is being very specific about his request. This book gives a good example of describing an object with specific language.
I also think the My Penguin Osbert will appeal to your boys. The illustrator, H. B. Lewis, paints a two page spread of a red racecar in the beginning. The main character, Joe, reminds me of my youngest. Since he has had difficulty getting the exact present that he wanted in years past, Joe goes all out and is detailed in the size, color, actions of his request. Joes wanted a penguin, not a stuffed one, but a penguin from Antarctica.
On Christmas morning, Santa game through. To the delight of Joe, Osbert the Penguin is waiting for him. Joe is ready to open more presents, but realizes his friend wanted to go outside and play. Each time Joe wants to do something, he renders his wishes for his friend. You can almost hear Joe’s thinking and sense his conflict.
“But I had asked for Osbert, and now I had him.”
Osbert was the penguin he had asked for, but Joe did not realize that a penguin would be so much work. Sound familiar with a pet? After a while, Joe writes a secret letter to Santa. He explains that he loves Osbert, but that if Santa thought Joe should have a different present, he would swap. Santa does reply and sends Joe on an adventure to the Antarctic World exhibit at the zoo. Osbert loves the exhibit and Joe relinquished his pet out of love. In the end, Joe shares the lesson he has learned.
Savorings for reading and in writing for My Penguin Osbert:
- Adjectives – specific descriptions
- Letter writing –
- Inference – the clues will lead the children to conclude Joe’s reasoning for giving up his pet
- Varied Sentences – the author does an excellent job of writing long, complex sentences and then integrating some simple sentences. “Then I waited.”
- Colon – used with a sign
- Hyphenated words – snow-globe; fire-engine-red