'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Tuesday 3 October 2023

Review: Do Penguins' Feet Freeze?

If you’ve ever wondered why rabbits eat their own poo or if indeed penguins suffer from frostbitten tootsies, then this is your kind of reference book. 

The very well-informed folk at the Natural History Museum in London, complied this clever collection of curious facts based on a plethora of creatures that inhabit planet Earth.

Presented in bright, bold, photography-led glossy spreads, each entry poses a wild and whacky question then preludes the (often weird) answer with a highlighted fun fact. Exposition follows in one or two short, easy to ingest paragraphs which are more fun and quicker to digest than a blowfly stuck on the arms of a carnivorous sundew plant let me tell you.

Occasional diagrams and illustrations help depict the story of individual species and their whacky and wonderful associations with nature but the true delight lies with the full colour photography, giving young readers an up close and personal perspective of each and every fun fact. Even the moon, as a small departure from planet Earth, is featured in stunning detail.

From mating bed bugs to the full disclosure of Rudolph the Reindeer’s true sexual identity, this collection not only informs but is a delight to dip in and out of making it a handy non-fiction classroom addition or project starter for primary schoolers. The layout, with clear contents that list each weird question along with a simple index, simultaneously provides convenient page guides while teaching youngsters the intricacies of using and enjoying references books.

I loved discovering new unexpected knowledge whilst consolidating what I already ‘thought’ I knew so can only imagine how little people interpret the whacky answers to wild questions like: do birds poo or wee?

Now, back to our ice-confined penguin friends on the topic of frozen toes or not frozen toes. Well, it’s actually a multi-faceted answer that you’ll have to discover for yourselves after reading this book. Do Penguins’ Feet Freeze? is far more fun for accruing trivia-useful, awe-inspiring, intriguing info than Google will ever be.

The answer, by the way, is not because they wear bed socks, although wouldn’t that be cool…

Title:  Do Penguins’ Feet Freeze?
Author: The Natural History Museum
Publisher:  CSIRO Publishing
Publication Date:  August 2023
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9781486317820
For ages:  9+
Type:  Junior Non-fiction