Archie the Daredevil Penguin by Andy Rash

Published by Viking

Summary:  On the one hand, Archie’s afraid of swimming with the other penguins because of all the strange creatures lurking in the briny deep.  On the other hand, he’s got more courage than anyone else in his attempts to avoid swimming by flying (shooting himself from a giant slingshot, leaping off an ice-brick wall with a pair of wings strapped on, etc.).  The other penguins applaud his bravery, but what they really want is for Archie to join them on Iceberg Nine for a fish fry.  The only way to get there, as far as they’re concerned, is to swim.  Finally, Archie tries firing himself over to the iceberg on a rocket, which melts the ice and strands him in the ocean.  He’s in for a few surprises out there in the briny deep, but the bottom line is, he discovers he loves swimming.  Ages 3-7.

Pros:  This would be a fun read-aloud, with its cartoon-bubble dialog and entertaining penguin characters.  There’s a good lesson about overcoming fears and trying new things.

Cons:  Archie’s rocket fuel is probably not helping the polar ice cap situation.

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